Follow the Leaders
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 through a comprehensive Virginia CEO Economic Outlook Survey.
The third quarter 2021 CEO Economic Outlook survey finds that the Index is back to pre-COVID level and that employers are hesitant to require return to in-person work. Additionally, CEOs expect sales, capital spending, and employment to increase over next 6 months.
“These CEOs are expressing a pre-pandemic level of optimism. That is in spite of the significant headwinds of workforce challenges and supply chain disruptions” said Scot McRoberts, Executive Director of VACEOs. “That’s good news for all of us.”
“The survey results suggest that CEOs are optimistic about the next six months, particularly with respect to predicted sales and employment,” said Rich Boulger, Associate Dean at the Robins School. Boulger administers the survey and collects the responses each quarter. He adds, “The overall index has returned to the levels experienced for several quarters pre-COVID. Specifically, the index has increased from 94.6 to 102.2 this quarter.”
Nearly 70% of CEOs expect sales to increase over the next six months and many will not require a return to in-person work just yet. These were two data points of the latest quarterly CEO Economic Outlook Survey conducted by the University of Richmond’s Robins School of Business and the Virginia Council of CEOs.
The survey also found expectations over the next six months for sales, capital spending, and employment are positive compared with expectations at the end of Q2 2021.
More than half (68%) of CEOs indicated that they expect sales to increase over the next six months.
Taken as a whole, the results pertaining to sales, capital spending and employment are positive producing a slight increase in the economic outlook (102.2 versus 94.6) relative to the results from the end of Q2 2021.
The survey asked CEOs to also express their plans, if any, to require employees to return to work in-person if they had worked in-person prior to the pandemic. Their response regarding returning to in-person work was as follows:
Additionally, CEOs were asked what percentage of your workforce will be working remotely relative to pre-COVID. Their response was as follows:
The following survey results show projections for the next six months for sales, capital spending, and employment.
The Robins School and VACEOs jointly conduct the quarterly survey, which regularly asks about expectations for sales, capital spending and employment, plus other relevant issues, helping Virginia companies anticipate business conditions 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. Rich Boulger, associate dean at the Robins School, administers the survey and collects the responses each quarter. The survey has been administered quarterly since 2010.
The Robins School of Business is the only fully-accredited, highly-ranked undergraduate business school that also is part of a highly-ranked liberal arts university. U.S. News ranks the Robins School’s MBA program #2 in Virginia. The school’s executive education division offers customized training and consulting to a wide variety of businesses.