Follow the Leaders
Robins School of Business –Virginia Council of CEOs survey finds heightened concern over the implementation of the new Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Richmond Times Dispatch coverage
Each quarter the Virginia Council of CEOs (VACEOs) and University of Richmond’s Robins School of Business partner to take the pulse of top executives in the region.
The survey results provided by Jeff Pollack, assistant professor of management at the Robins School of Business, provide a snap shot of the overall economic outlook index for various companies within the region and help central Virginia companies anticipate business decisions and plan for growth. This quarter the survey finds the overall outlook index of top executives to be slightly higher than the previous quarter.
Says Scot McRoberts, executive director of the Virginia Council of CEOs, “While the Economic Outlook Index crept upwards and our small business CEOs are generally optimistic about sales in the coming six months, there seem to be two drags on stronger performance.
First is the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. The survey results show increased concern over the effects on business. Real or perceived, the uncertainty around Obamacare seems to be inhibiting optimism.
Secondly, staffing again was the major concern identified by the CEOs. Nearly 40% of the respondents named it as the most significant issue for their business, a 35% jump over last quarter. Many CEOs I talk to are very cautious about hiring, but more than half anticipate increased employment in the next six months.”
VA CEOs Economic Performance for Q4 2013 – Q1 2014
Among the executives of small and mid-sized companies participating in the survey, 53 percent agree that the ACA will change the way they operate business, up from 45 percent in the second quarter. When asked if they would consider ceasing employer-provided health coverage, 20 percent agreed, which is a slight increase from 19 percent in the second quarter.
“We see in these data a continued positive trend building from the last quarter—indications are optimistic on sales as well as employment growth for the next six months,” said Jeff Pollack, assistant professor of management at the Robins School, who calculated the results. “For capital spending, we saw a shift suggesting that the majority of these CEOs anticipate no changes here in the next six months. Staffing issues, economic uncertainty, and too slow growth are the top three areas of concerns noted by the current sample of CEOs.”
The survey also found the issue of staffing to be the most significant. Almost 40 percent agreed that finding, hiring, retaining, and training employees was the biggest issue they were facing, which is a jump from 29 percent last quarter.
The following survey results, from the SECOND and THIRD quarters of 2013 show projections for the next six months for sales, spending and employment:
The results also provide an overall economic outlook index, which is based on businesses’ projected six-month sales, spending and employment figures.
Economic Outlook Index
About the 2013, Third Quarter Robins School of Business / VACEOs Economic Survey
The Quarterly Outlook Survey is conducted jointly by the Virginia Council of CEOs and University of Richmond’s Robins School of Business and is an adaption of the national Business Roundtable survey conducted by an association of CEOs of American companies.
This quarters results were based on the collected responses from 80 CEOs in central Virginia. The average annual revenue year-to-date for CEOs responding was $11.3 million. The data were compared to the second quarter of 2013 responses of 72 participants. Multiple industries are represented in the sample (for example, construction, manufacturing, finance and insurance, and retail). The average employment of member companies for this survey was 49.
The VA Council of CEOs 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Robins School of Business
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 20 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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