Performance Expectations Decline
- All surveyed industries (excluding public sector) project revenue and earnings growth. The average year over-year growth projections for companies across all industries are 6.5 percent for revenues (as compared to 11 percent the previous quarter) and 12 percent for earnings (as compared to 20 percent the previous quarter).
- Domestic hiring expectations are essentially unchanged this quarter, with an expected 1.8 percent year-over-year gain — again, modest relative to current unemployment levels. On the plus side, no industries are projecting decreases, and some are projecting significant increases. CFOs project an average 3.6 percent increase in offshore personnel and 2.8 percent in outsourced staffing.
- More than 60 percent of CFOs believe structural shifts are at least somewhat responsible for high unemployment. Supporting this view, nearly half of all surveyed CFOs said that, despite high unemployment, they are finding it harder to find sufficiently skilled staff than they did five years ago — equally citing changed staffing needs and regular staffing profiles that are now harder to find. Only 20 percent report easier hiring.
- Consistent with their view that economic growth will not fix unemployment, CFOs shun further government spending. More than 90 percent of CFOs surveyed say Congress should not wait for a less fragile economy to begin addressing the deficit.
- Health care policy is top-of-mind, with half of surveyed CFOs rating it a top lobbying focus. CFOs expect health care reform to substantially impact their resourcing and costs, with more than 90 percent expecting benefit cost per employee to rise and half expecting the quality and/or breadth of offered benefits to decline. Despite concerns about health care reform, 80 percent of the CFOs surveyed are not projecting major changes in their human resources strategies or approaches to employer-sponsored coverage.