March 15, 2024

Election Uncertainty!

Election Uncertainty!

Anticipating the future is a big part of the job of any CEO, and many leaders are already concerned about political uncertainty, according to the latest Marcum-Hofstra CEO survey. With the 60th presidential election scheduled to be held on Tuesday, November 5, it’s now only months away.

With the last election characterized by political polarization that reached its height during the January 6, United States Capitol Attack, it’s not surprising that 45.3% of leaders said political uncertainty is a top-three concern for them. Adding to the cauldron of worry are high interest rates and a high cost of capital—which 44.6% cited—and the threat of an economic slowdown, mentioned by 44.1%.

I was pleased to see that many leaders are already taking action, reacting to these potential threats with a focus on cost-cutting by improving efficiency and attracting and retaining talent. Many are also prioritizing efforts such as meeting changing customer expectations, finding new business opportunities, improving the customer experience, managing new technology such as AI, and building supply-chain resilience.

Our team of Marcum professionals is working with many of our clients to go over their budgets with a fine-tooth comb. New technologies, such as AI, are helping to provide many new avenues for greater efficiency and helping companies keep their teams interested and engaged by taking rote and menial work off their plates and freeing up time for more interesting, high-level projects. Meanwhile, influences like inflation and the talent shortage haven’t gone away.

With uncertainty creeping into the business environment, the percentage of CEOs who rated their outlook as “very positive” (represented by a score of 10) dipped from 10.5% to 8.6%. However, 42.6% said they were in the upper range of 8-10, and more than 80% of CEOs are planning to hire in the coming year. Only 11.3% said they would reduce staff. Some of this varied by industry, with CEOs in construction, healthcare, professional service, retail, and technology the most optimistic and those in financial services and manufacturing the least.

We’re only just getting started with the runup to the election, but there’s one thing we can bet on—uncertainty. There always is some with any election, so it’s a good time to start working on your Plan B, C, and D if you haven’t already.

Ramadan, the Muslim holy month, started at the beginning of the week. Millions of Muslim people around the world are now observing by fasting during the daytime and praying during the evening. Ramadan will continue until the next moon is spotted–anticipated around April 9. To those who celebrate Ramadan, Mubarak!

Meanwhile, Sunday is St. Patrick’s Day. Here in New York, the parade will be taking place on Saturday, March 16. With the days getting longer and temperatures getting warmer, it looks like a great day to celebrate. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!