The fourth quarter 2014 CEO Economic Outlook survey by the University of Richmond’s Robins School of Business and the Virginia Council of CEOs once again finds strong optimism among chief executives in central Virginia.

Among the 62 CEOs of small- and mid-sized companies participating in the survey this quarter, more than three-fourths expect their revenues to grow during the next six months, with 30 percent of respondents expecting revenues to climb by 11 percent or more. For the second straight quarter, more than half of respondents indicated that they expect their US employment to grow during the next six months.

“All signs are pointing toward a strong 2015 for small business in Virginia,” said Scot McRoberts, executive director of the Virginia Council of CEOs. “It is good news that talent acquisition is becoming less of a challenge.”

For the third consecutive quarter, respondents were asked whether finding, hiring and retaining talent was a significant issue and 66 percent of CEOs indicated it was a concern, a decrease from 78 percent of respondents last quarter. According to the executives surveyed, the most difficult positions to fill are in operations, mentioned by 40 percent of respondents, and sales, mentioned by 35 percent of respondents. When asked how much their annual revenues might increase if their talent concerns were resolved, more than three in four CEOs (76 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 following survey results from the second and third quarters of 2014 show projections for the next six months for sales, spending and employment:



Projected 6 months sales, spending and employment

2014 Q4

2014 Q3


No Change



No Change


How do you expect your company’s sales to change in the next six months?







How do you expect your company’s U.S. capital spending to change in the next six months?







How do you expect your company’s U.S. employment to change in the next six months?








Economic Outlook Index

Survey Date

CEO Economic Outlook Index

Q4 2014


Q3 2014


Q2 2014


Q1 2014


Q4 2013


Q3 2013


Q2 2013


Q1 2013


Q4 2012


Q3 2012


Q2 2012


Q1 2012


Q4 2011


Q3 2011


Q2 2011


Q1 2011


Q4 2010


Q3 2010


Q2 2010


The Council and the Robins School collected responses from 62 CEOs in central Virginia. The median annual company revenue year-to-date for CEOs responding was $4.5 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 25.

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 25 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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Robins School of Business