The third quarter 2014 CEO Economic Outlook survey by the University of Richmond’s Robins School of Business and the Virginia Council of CEOs finds strong optimism among chief executives in central Virginia. The survey’s Economic Outlook Index, launched in mid-2010, reached an all-time high this quarter.
Among the 65 chief executives of small- and mid-sized companies participating in the survey this quarter, more than two-thirds expect their revenues to grow during the next six months, with 35.9 percent of respondents expecting revenues to climb by 11 percent or more. There was also a significant increase in the percentage of CEOs who expect to boost capital spending over the next six months, with 41.5 percent planning an increase this quarter compared to just 28.7 percent of respondents last quarter.
“These results are not surprising,” said Scot McRoberts, executive director of the Virginia Council of CEOs. “With economic growth over 3 percent in three of the last four quarters, and a forecast of steady growth in 2015, CEOs are investing in the human and capital resources that will allow them to grow.”
For the second consecutive quarter, respondents were asked whether finding, hiring and retaining talent was a significant issue; 78.5 percent of CEOs indicated it was a concern, an increase from 70 percent of respondents last quarter. According to the executives surveyed, the most difficult positions to fill are in operations, cited by 31 percent of respondents, and sales, cited by 23 percent of respondents. When asked how much their annual revenues might increase if their talent concerns were resolved, nearly three in four CEOs (72.5 percent) indicated they would experience growth of 11 percent or more.
The Virginia Council of CEOs and the Robins School jointly conduct the quarterly survey, which helps central Virginia companies anticipate business decisions and plan for growth.  The Robins School adapted the survey from the Business Roundtable, an association of CEOs of American companies that conducts a similar survey nationally. Richard Coughlan, senior associate dean at the Robins School, administers the survey and collects the responses each quarter.
The Council and the Robins School collected responses from 63 CEOs in central Virginia. The median annual company revenue year-to-date for CEOs responding was $3 million. Multiple industries are represented in the sample (for example, construction, manufacturing, finance and insurance, and retail). The median number of full-time employees for responding companies in this survey was 22.

The council continues to expand the survey beyond its members, offering any area business owners whose companies gross at least $1 million in annual revenue the opportunity to participate. If enough businesses participate, the council will provide survey results by industry. Participation is free, and all participants will receive copies of the survey data.

Business owners and CEOs who would like to participate in the next survey should contact Scot McRoberts at

The Virginia Council of CEOs is a nonprofit organization, whose mission is to connect the CEOs of second-stage companies so they can learn from each other and grow their businesses. Learn more at

The Robins School of Business is the only fully accredited, top-ranked undergraduate business school that also is part of a top-ranked liberal arts university. Bloomberg Businessweek ranks both the Robins School’s undergraduate and part-time MBA programs among the top 30 in the country in their respective categories. The school’s executive education division offers open enrollment courses and customized leadership development programs for individuals and businesses.

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*Tables with specific survey results are available upon request. Contact Cynthia Price at 804-287-6659 or Sunni Brown at 804-289-8056 for details.

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Robins School of Business