CEO Confidence Up, but Worries Persist About Staff Quality and Availability

According to the Q1 2013 Vistage CEO Confidence Index  CEOs are cautiously optimistic. The underlying strength of the economy is allowing CEOs to finally focus on the issues within their own businesses rather than worrying about the national economy and policies. The Confidence Index was 96.6 in the 1st quarter 2013 survey, up from 87.0 in the prior quarter and the highest level since last year’s 105.1.

Working with as many company owners and CEO’s as we do, Cerius has a broad perspective on the business climate and on CEO’s attitudes towards risk and growth. We are seeing similar CEO confidence levels as being reported by Vistage.

Though optimism is increasing, CEOs continue to face stiff challenges. The top three challenges, according to the Vistage survey are:

  1. Managing costs
  2. Finding and hiring qualified employees
  3. Maintaining and adding to their customer base

Three quarters of the CEO respondents said it is difficult to find qualified talent, which in part explains why our phone is ringing more these days as CEOs look to tap our pool of over 1,000 interim executives coast to coast for part-time and interim assignments.

Here are some of the major findings from the Vistage survey:

  • 49% are reporting improved economic conditions
  • 40% plan on increasing their spending on capital expenditures
  • 36% anticipated continued improvements in the national economy in 2013
  • 52% planned additions to their payroll
  • 66% expected growth in their revenues for 2013

These figures are encouraging, but they certainly don’t forecast an economic boom ahead. CEO’s continue to invest cautiously, which includes a greater interest in the strategic use of contingent work forces as alternatives to traditional full-time employment.

About the Vistage CEO Confidence Index

The Vistage CEO Confidence Index, established in 2003, is a quarterly survey of small- to mid-sized business CEOs about the U.S. economy. The Q1 2013 Vistage CEO Confidence Index includes responses from 1,546 U.S. CEOs, surveyed between March 11 and March 20, 2013, with a margin of error of 1.6 percentage points. Since its establishment in 2003, the Index has proven to be a reliable harbinger for changes in GDP and Employment, two to three quarters hence.


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