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Highlights of Latest Vistage CEO Confidence Index

Contributed by Pamela Wasley, CEO.

According to the latest Vistage CEO Confidence Index survey, CEOs remain optimistic going into 2014. The last six months constitutes the highest level of optimism in three years. Revenues are up, cost cutting measures have increased profitability leaving a substantial amount of cash on balance sheets, and 74% expect their revenues to increase over the next 12 months.

And interesting enough, the harsh winter did not stop CEOs from hiring more people or investing in their companies. On the contrary, companies reported plans to bring on more employees and increase their investments in capital as well as training for their employees. Thus banks continue to increase their lending to businesses.

Surprising Attitudes about the Minimum Wage

CEOs are keeping an eye on the proposals by President Obama regarding minimum wage and overtime pay; however, more than half of the respondents of this study stated that an increase of $10.11 would not have any impact on their businesses which I believe is a shock to a lot of people who believed that most businesses would be against an increase in minimum wage. In fact a study done by the Lucas Group of SMBs showed surprising results that 45% of the respondents felt that the $8.21 – $10.10 (the rate proposed by the White House) range was most preferred and 20% even went further to say they preferred the rate range of $10.11-$12.00.

Staffing Leads Concerns, Again

The top business issues mentioned most had to do with recruiting, hiring, training, and retraining key employees to expand their business. According to the annual global CEO survey done by PWC…

  • 70% of US CEOs are concerned about the availability of key skills
  • Information Technology appeared to be the hardest area in a company to fill with qualified candidates with Sales being the next toughest area
  • 78% of the companies surveyed already invest in some form of management training or leadership training for their employees
  • 47% intend on increasing their investments in training this year.
  • 62% of CEOs expect retirements of baby boomers to have some level of impact on their businesses.

Other top concerns mentioned were managing costs, domestic and international competition and customer retention and/or lead generation. Thus firms are adopting a more aggressive offense when it comes to acquiring new customers as well as retaining current ones. CEOs are reinventing their organizations through the use of technology and more efficient operating models that will give them greater responsiveness while lowering costs.

However, even with all of the confidence that is out there about the economy, CEOs are still a little reluctant to spend too much cash because of regular reminders of an economy that is still a long way away from the robustness it enjoyed prior to the financial crash of 2008.

So what questions should you be asking yourself between now and the rest of 2014?

  • Do you have the talent on board that can drive innovation?
  • Do you have enough of the right talent on board that can transform the organization, taking your company through new innovations and experiences?
  • Do you need to bring in talent with the right expertise to supplement your team and bring new outside perspective?
  • Is your company missing windows of opportunity because it takes too long to find, recruit and on-board new executives?
  • Are you stuck on traditional staffing models, or are you testing the use of part-time executives, interim executive talent, temporary executives and executive consultants?

So, one last thought: Are you just running your business for today or are you an agile company creating your business for tomorrow?

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