CEO Confidence and Importance of ESG On the Rise, Marcum-Hofstra Survey Reveals

The most recent Marcum-Hofstra University CEO Survey provided great insight into the minds of CEOs across a range of different industries. One of the most promising findings within the survey is that there is great optimism among CEOs about the business landscape and companies supporting social and political causes.

In April, the survey showed that 9.8% of respondents viewed their outlook as “very positive”, but the latest survey saw that number jump to 12.4%. Additionally, 39.6% felt high optimism, an increase from 37.6%.

The industries that showed the largest gains in optimism are construction, professional services and technology sectors. Inversely, industries such as healthcare and retail sectors saw a drop in CEO optimism.

“Our latest CEO survey shows that optimism is on the rise, but it’s clear that these leaders are keenly aware of the challenges ahead,” said Jeffrey Weiner, Chairman & CEO of Marcum. “From managing economic uncertainties and grappling with talent shortages to mitigating the impact of rising operational costs, CEOs will need adaptability and grit in this fluid business landscape.”

As technology, and more specifically social media, become easily accessible, it is easier to voice your support for the beliefs and values that you hold. Consequently, 71.6% of CEOs believe that it is important for companies to support political and social causes.

“The embrace of environmental, social and governance (ESG) is, quite literally, a generational change driven by young people who make decisions about what they buy and where they work based on a company’s ethical impact,” said Janet Lenaghan, dean of the Frank G. Zarb School of Business. “We focus on ESG at Zarb in many ways and across all disciplines – in the curriculum, with experiential learning opportunities like our student-managed sustainability fund, and through an interdisciplinary graduate dual-degree program.”

The Marcum-Hofstra CEO Survey gauges the outlook and priorities of mid-market CEOs for the next 12 months. The survey polls leaders from a wide array of different companies and industries, with revenues ranging from $5 million to over $1 billion. The most recent survey was conducted the week of June 19, 2023, and polled 250 mid-market CEOs.