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CFO survey finds improved confidence, optimistic hiring outlook

June 19, 2015

CFOs in the US are more confident now than they have been in years, according to the quarterly CFO Outlook Survey conducted by Financial Executives International and Baruch College’s Zicklin School of Business. Survey responses indicate CFOs also are gearing up to increase hiring activity in the coming months, although a majority of CFOs have been consistently projecting hiring increases since the end of 2009. CFOs’ optimism towards the global economy also increased, although optimism in the US economy edged down.

The survey found 67% of respondents indicated they have plans to hire at their company in the next six months, representing the highest percentage of CFOs to respond positively to this question in three years. The survey also found 77% of CFOs were not forced to reduce headcount over the past 12 months. Furthermore, 74% of respondents said wage levels they are paying are on the rise.

“Our most recent survey revealed a number of positive trends in terms of hiring at all levels,” said Linda Allen, professor of economics and finance for the Zicklin School of Business at Baruch College. “CFOs with intent to hire over the next six months are seeking mid-career professionals (53.8%), entry-level university graduates or interns (48.3%), and experienced skilled technical workers (46.9%).  If such expectations materialize, there may be a reduction in the overhang of long-term unemployed and underemployed, as well as absorption of the new class of graduates joining the job market.”

The survey also revealed an increase in CFOs’ optimism towards the global economy, which climbed to 57.69 on the survey’s index, up from 53.19 in February and a level not seen since the second quarter of 2011.

The survey’s quarterly optimism index for the US economy edged down to 68.14 from 70.71 in February, but remains almost four points higher from 64.17 a year ago. The optimism index for US CFOs’ own businesses increased to 74.01 in this quarter’s survey, the highest reported since 2006.

The electronic survey included 217 corporate CFOs from the US and was conducted from May 7 to June 3, 2015.


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