May 15, 2012 03:52 PM EDT

US. and European CFOs more confident about global economic growth


U.S. and European CFOs are confident that the "global economy" is improving indicates a new survey conducted by Financial Executives International (FEI) and Baruch College's Zicklin School of Business. They believe that the US is in the "midst of a recovery" although they do not approve of the way President Obama and Congress have been managing the economy.

The CFO Outlook Survey asks CFOs from public and private businesses in the U.S., Mexico and Europe about their "economic and business confidence".  The results showed that the level of optimism grew from last quarter.  European CFO confidence increased more than "two points from 51.80 to 54.00", on the other hand U.S. CFOs went up more than five points from 46.10 to 51.90 when asked about global economic growth.

 John Elliott, Dean of the Zicklin School of Business at Baruch College, revealed that the previous quarters saw "confidence among U.S. and European CFOs had fluctuated, but CFOs are kicking off 2012 with a relatively encouraging outlook." He described that U.S. CFOs felt "optimism in the U.S. economy and small dips in unemployment rate."  Elliott added that the survey also showed that increased CFO confidence presented "good signs for U.S. job seekers in the year ahead, and while Europe is improving, it has not yet moved the needle to positive job growth."

In terms of the unemployment rate, CFOs predict that that the unemployment rates will stay at "high levels" for 2012 and 2013. While U.S. CFOs correctly projected that the rate would decrease from 8.3 to 8.1 percent, European CFOs believe that their rate will increase from 8.6 to 9 percent.  Around 59% of U.S CFOs have also reported that wages have increased, while 63 percent of European CFOs saw salaries remained at the same levels.

When questioned about whether they were planning to add employees to their staff, about 62 percent revealed that they planned to hire more workers over the next six months.  However, only 35 percent of European CFOs intended to add staff to their workforce.  Out of the types of workers that CFOs are primarily looking to hire, mid-career candidates are the most in demand employee, with 70 percent of U.S. CFOs requiring those with more than 10 years of work experience compared to 45 percent of European CFOs looking for the same type of worker.  In second place, 49% of U.S. CFOs looked to hire "experienced and skilled technical workers" such as those in the medical, construction and IT industries, while around 40% of European CFOs looked to employ similar professionals. Lastly, 45% of U.S. CFOs mentioned that they planned to bring to recent college graduates on board with their companies, while only 38 percent of European CFOs intended to employ the same type of candidate.

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