Germans are rarely accused of overestimating themselves. You don’t get the feeling that we brag a lot and make long speeches about our skills. Could too little self-confidence be the reason why German industry decision makers have comparatively little confidence in the future of their own companies?

In regards to the Worldcom Confidence Index 2018, the Worldcom Group* asked 585 CEOs and CMOs for their assessments of their future business success based on a comprehensive catalogue of criteria. The study showed that in 16 out of 18 areas, German managers have less confidence than the global average. Are German companies too pessimistic about the future? We have taken a closer look at the study and wanted to know in which areas German managers feel more optimistic and in which less.

Low Confidence Index – Competition, Talents, Infrastructure
Competition never sleeps – the German CEOs seem to think the same. Only 16 percent think that they can outperform the competition. Next, to France and Japan, Germany scores the lowest. Just for comparison: The US has a score of 35 percent; the global average is 26 percent. But why do German companies not see themselves in a position to withstand the competitive pressure? Germany’s insolvency ratio is in the upper mid-range which means there are many countries with a higher insolvency ratio that score a higher Confidence Index. Among other things, the study initiators refer to the low scores in the areas of technological infrastructure and the ability to attract the greatest talents. It is not surprising that many people are concerned about the existing infrastructure. One possible reason could be the much-discussed fiber optic network: In June last year, only 2.1 percent of all broadband connections were fiber optic lines. This makes Germany one of the countries with the least fiber optic connections. Germany does not shine with an excellent technical infrastructure in other respects either. The lack of confidence should, therefore, come as no surprise.

High Confidence Index – Innovation, Defense against cyber attacks
After an in-depth analysis of the report, areas can be found in which German managers do feel optimistic. In two areas, Germany is more positive than the average. The German respondents see opportunities in the ability to innovate through the use of the latest technologies. The CEOs surveyed also consider the protection of companies against cybercrime quite feasible. However, there are still major challenges to overcome, considering that in the past two years more than one out of two companies have been a victim of a cyber attack.

Young men in large companies are the most confident
However, it is worth mentioning that there are demographic differences. These concern not only Germany but all countries surveyed. Male leaders are more confident than female ones. This could be due to the fact that women tend to be more pessimistic and take a more critical view of many things than men. Furthermore, the size of the company seems to have an influence on the confidence of its leaders. In companies with more than 1,000 employees, there is greater confidence that they will master daily challenges such as attracting the best talents and satisfying customers. Perhaps, this is because it is easier to deal with small failures in larger companies where more resources are available. Age is the next interesting factor. The study shows that confidence decreases with age. The younger, the more confident the managers are.

However, before you fall into a pessimistic attitude after all these negative outlooks, it should not remain unmentioned that Germany is just below the average score of the overall Worldcom Confidence Index. The average score is 25.3 and Germany reaches 22.4 after all. Although we cannot compete with the euphoria of the Americans, German managers are unlikely to fall into hopelessness. In many areas, the German score is only slightly below the average. More about this soon on our blog.

Click here for the complete report for Germany.

*The Worldcom Public Relations Group is the world’s largest network of owner-managed PR agencies. More than 110 communication agencies in 95 cities on six continents belong to the network. In Germany, the partners are HBI Helga Bailey – International PR & MarCom, Kirchhoff Consult and komm.passion.

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