The Ipsos MORI Captains of Industry survey, conducted towards the end of 2011, found 56% of respondents were pessimistic about the outlook for the UK.
Just 9% believe economic conditions will improve, the poll found.
Charles Adriaenssens, head of financial services at Ipsos MORI, says: “Due to recent low GDP growth and economic uncertainty in the eurozone, Britain’s captains of industry remain pessimistic about the future of the economy.
“While the technology sector has the strongest growth potential according to captains, they still see the UK financial services industry as having a clear competitive advantage.”
The technology/media/telecoms (TMT) sector was cited by 52% of participants as having the greatest potential for growth during 2012, while 33% said the financial services sector had the worst outlook.
However, 79% felt that the UK has a competitive advantage when it comes to the financial services sector and 49% said more needed to be done to support it.
In contrast, only 3% of business leaders believe the UK manufacturing sector had a competitive advantage, with two-thirds of respondents calling for more to be done to rebalance the economy towards this sector.
This sentiment was recently echoed by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) in December after it warned that the economy was too dependent on debt-driven household and government consumption.
The USA was said to be the most attractive place to do business, with 28% of participants in agreement, while Brazil was said to be the most attractive for investment.
The UK is the third most attractive place for business, with 15% of the vote, and the fifth for investment with 10%.
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