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

Increase

No Change

Decrease

Increase

No Change

Decrease

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

 75.44%

17.54%

7.02%

 69.35%

24.19%

6.45%

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

33.87%

 50.00%

 16.13%

41.54%

 43.08%

 15.38%

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

53.22%

 45.16%

 1.61%

58.46%

 32.31%

 9.23%

 

Economic Outlook Index

Survey Date

CEO Economic Outlook Index

Q4 2014

95.92

Q3 2014

96.10

Q2 2014

88.71

Q1 2014

86.07

Q4 2013

89.57

Q3 2013

92.53

Q2 2013

91.60

Q1 2013

86.40

Q4 2012

77.57

Q3 2012

81.17

Q2 2012

81.13

Q1 2012

94.10

Q4 2011

88.63

Q3 2011

81.17

Q2 2011

74.17

Q1 2011

85.63

Q4 2010

 92.27

Q3 2010

 94.47

Q2 2010

 81.33

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 smcroberts@vaceos.org.

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 www.vaceos.org.

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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Related Campus Units

Robins School of Business