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Marcum LLP-Hofstra University CEO Survey Pinpoints Political Uncertainty as Key Challenge for Business Planning


NEW YORKMarch 12, 2024 /7Newswire — Political uncertainty is now at the forefront of CEOs’ minds as they navigate the complexities of the upcoming year, according to the latest CEO Survey from Marcum LLP and Hofstra University’s Frank G. Zarb School of Business. The survey, executed in the week of February 19, 2024, serves as an essential barometer for middle-market business leaders’ perspectives, issues, and action plans.

CEOs Cite Political Uncertainty as Foremost Concern
Among a broad range of issues, 45.3% of CEOs identify political uncertainty as a critical concern influencing their decision-making process and corporate strategy. This sentiment underscores the pressing nature of the political climate on business stability and growth. Moreover, CEOs continue to grapple with managing interest rates and the cost of capital while preparing for the potential repercussions of an economic downturn.

The push for efficiency, cost containment, and the competitive battle for talent dominate CEOs’ agendas in an increasingly tight labor market. Adapting to evolving customer expectations, unearthing new commercial prospects, elevating customer service, integrating innovative technologies like AI, and reinforcing supply chain robustness also rank high among their operational priorities.

Insight into CEO Optimism and the Business Outlook
While optimism among CEOs has experienced a minor ebb since the last survey, a resilient 42.6% retain a buoyant view of the business environment. The aggregate confidence level of the CEOs has seen an uptick, climbing to a weighted average of 6.9 from 6.7.

Industry-Specific Optimism and Variances
Optimism increased notably across various sectors, including construction, healthcare, professional services, retailing, and technology, while financial services and manufacturing saw a decline in their optimism levels.

Economic Realities and Their Impact on Business Planning
Economic issues remain a pivotal concern to business planning, though there has been a slight decrease in CEOs ranking it within their top three concerns. Persistent inflationary pressures and the availability of talent reflect the ongoing labor market challenges and cost management complexities.

Forecasting Staffing Strategies Amidst Uncertainty
Despite persisting uncertainties, most CEOs (80.1%) are poised to sustain or increase staffing numbers, with only 11.3% anticipating cutbacks and 8.6% adopting a cautious approach to hiring for the forthcoming year.

A Snapshot of CEO Sentiments and Strategic Adaptations
The Marcum LLP-Hofstra University CEO Survey is an indispensable resource, capturing the pulse of contemporary business leaders as they adapt to ever-changing external influences. The insights gained from this survey are crucial for understanding the proactive and adaptable approaches adopted by today’s CEOs.

Jeffrey Weiner, Chairman & CEO of Marcum, stated, “The ability to adapt and remain agile in the face of political and economic headwinds is what defines successful leadership today. Our survey highlights the importance of these attributes as we continue to guide our clients through these complex times.”

Said Frank G. Zarb School of Business Dean Janet Lenaghan, “We teach our students that obstacles are inevitable and present an opportunity to cultivate resilience in leadership and workplace culture. It is a process for change that leads to creative problem-solving, teamwork, and the strategic courage needed to stay ahead of the curve.”

The survey is developed, conducted, and analyzed by Zarb School MBA students, led by Dr. Andrew Forman, associate professor of international business and marketing, and in partnership with Marcum.

Dr. Forman shared his perspective on the latest survey’s findings: “This survey serves as a potent reminder that, amidst uncertainty, opportunity arises for the sharp CEO. The results underscore the significance of foresight and flexibility as leaders strive to remain competitive and innovative.”

Survey Highlights

  • CEO optimism has slightly declined, yet a solid majority (88.3%) holds a moderately positive outlook.
  • The construction and retail sectors exhibit the greatest surge in optimism.
  • While economic concerns are still at the heart of business planning, their impact has slightly diminished.
  • Political uncertainty now stands out as the primary concern, signifying a volatile socio-political environment.
  • CEOs are prioritizing cost efficiency and talent retention as they respond to continuous market shifts.

About the Survey
The Marcum-Hofstra CEO Survey is a periodic gauge of mid-market CEOs’ outlook and priorities for the next 12 months. The survey polled the leaders of companies with revenues ranging from $5 million to $1 billion-plus and was conducted the week of February 19, 2024. 256 mid-market CEOs participated.

You can download the survey here: https://www.marcumhofstraceosurvey.com/no1-2024

Hofstra University’s Frank G. Zarb School of Business prepares students to become tomorrow’s global leaders. Located just 25 miles from New York City, Zarb students have access to internships and networking opportunities across every industry. The Zarb School combines entrepreneurial, hands-on learning and research with real-world experience and mentorship in state-of-the-art facilities, including a Behavioral Research Business Lab, Core Skills Lab, Center for Entrepreneurship, Cybersecurity Center, and academic trading room. Our undergraduate and graduate programs in accounting, management and entrepreneurship, marketing and international business, finance, and business analytics are ranked and recognized by US News & World ReportPrinceton ReviewPoets & Quants and Fortune Magazine. Visit hofstra.edu/zarb for more information.

About Marcum LLP
Marcum LLP is a top-ranked national accounting and advisory firm dedicated to helping entrepreneurial, middle-market companies and high-net-worth individuals achieve their goals. Marcum’s industry-focused practices offer deep insight and specialized services to privately held and publicly registered companies, and nonprofit and social sector organizations. The Firm also provides a full complement of technology, wealth management, and executive search and staffing services. Headquartered in New York City, Marcum has offices in major business markets across the U.S. and select international locations. #AskMarcum.