April 2, 2018

Marcum LLP Launches Quarterly CEO Survey

Marcum LLP Launches Quarterly CEO Survey

Middle-Market CEOs Optimistic; Talent Acquisition Is Key Priority

New York City, NY – Marcum LLP, a national accounting and advisory services firm, today unveiled a new quarterly survey of middle-market company chief executives, in collaboration with the Chief Executive Group, publisher of the CEO Confidence Index. The new Marcum survey gauges CEOs’ outlook on the current business environment and their priorities for the next 12 months.

The first quarterly Marcum CEO Survey found that chief executives are strongly optimistic, with 99% of CEOs rating their business outlook between 5 (positive) and 10 (very positive), and 8% selecting the top rating. The weighted average rating on a scale of 1-10 among all CEOs participating in the Marcum survey was 7.77 for Quarter 1, 2018. This compares to the CEO Confidence Index finding of 7.09 in the fourth quarter of 2017 and 6.49 one year ago (Quarter 1, 2017).

Over the next 12 months, CEOs in 11 of 16 categories – the greatest concentration of industries – plan to invest in technology. However, talent recruitment was the No. 1 priority among CEOs, with 36% saying their biggest investment will be in human capital. Technology was a distant second with 15%, and workforce training was third with 12%.

Paralleling these findings, the single most important influence for business planning over the next 12 months is availability of talent (31%). The urgent need for access to talent is industry-agnostic, with CEOs in 14 of 16 categories saying this is the most important influence on their companies’ near-term future. Other key influences appear to be industry-specific and are similarly divided among technology (11.16%), access to capital (11.16%), labor (10.33%), and regulatory environment (9.92%).

Ninety percent of CEOs said product or service diversification is a central issue, with answers ranging from 5 (important) to 10 (very important). Most CEOs placed diversification as an 8 (21.9%) or 7 (19.8%) on a 1-10 scale. Less than 10% of CEOs (9.7%) said diversification is not important to their future.

“Clearly, human capital is the overriding concern of CEOs in virtually all industries, ahead of even technology as a driving force in how companies are preparing for the future. Our findings in the inaugural Marcum CEO Survey are a barometer of market conditions, and it comes as no surprise that this population of entrepreneurial CEOs is remarkably optimistic about the current and near-future business environment. It’s the nature of entrepreneurs to confront and overcome challenges. It will be very interesting to see how things might change over time as prevailing business conditions respond to economic shifts, political winds, and world events,” said Jeffrey M. Weiner, Marcum’s chairman and chief executive officer.

A total of 242 CEOs completed the debut Marcum CEO Survey for the first quarter of 2018. 228 participating companies (94.2%) had revenues of up to $1 billion in 2017; 14 companies (5.8%) had revenues in excess of $1 billion.

Participating industries included:

  • Adverting/Marketing/PR/Media/Entertainment
  • Construction/Engineering/Mining
  • Energy/Utility
  • Financial Services (Banking, Insurance, Brokerage, Investment)
  • Government and Non-Profit
  • Health Care (Providers and Payers)
  • High Tech/Telecommunications/Information Technology
  • Manufacturing (consumer goods)
  • Manufacturing (industrial goods)
  • Pharmaceuticals & Medical Products
  • Professional Services (Legal, Consulting, Accounting, Architecture)
  • Real Estate
  • Retail Trade
  • Transportation (Airlines, Trucking, Rail , Shipping, Logistics)
  • Travel and Leisure (Hotels)
  • Wholesale Distribution
  • Other