Up again, down again. The record of our progress towards global economic recovery can be seen these days in almost any business survey.
Certainly this year’s annual worldwide survey of senior management by Cornerstone International Group spells it out. This time last year, the light had turned green and 80% of respondents were back in growth mode; now it’s turned orange again and that figure has dropped to 63%.
The annual survey reflects broad-based, senior management business sentiment. Cornerstone International Group is a prominent international search organization with over 100 member offices worldwide.
The comparison of management attitudes over time is just one of the interesting aspects of the survey which has tracked strategic thinking since before the financial collapse of 2007. Another is the variance of opinion between the state of affairs globally and locally.
For example, only 36% of respondents currently believe that a global economic recession is over. However, over 63% believe the recession is ended in their local markets.
The majority of respondents this year came from Europe (45%) followed by North America (36%), Latin America (36%) Asia/South Pacific (19%) and Africa, Middle East and India (12%).
“We need to remember that our survey is usually filled out by people who roll up their shirt sleeves when they sit down,” comments William Guy, Chairman of Cornerstone International Group. “It is always interesting to see how attitudes on the firing line differ from the top-level impressions we get from reading and watching the news.”
Board strength falls off
Corporate governance was one issue that took a hit in this year’s survey. After three years of data showing Boards becoming more pro-active in the management of the organization, the numbers fell back this year from 88% to 61%.
Another drop came in the number of firms who believe they have sufficiently diverse experience on their Boards – down to 58% from 66% a year ago.
Other findings from this year’s survey include the following:
• Only 44% expect to increase the number of employees this year compared to 63% last year and 66% the year before. Headcount reductions are anticipated by 22% — a 50% increase.
• Talent development remains the preferred priority for increasing value. Recruitment, though, has fallen off sharply and is replaced in second place by Succession Management.
• Despite the perennial focus on maximizing talent, still only half of respondents have a formal, company-wide performance measurement process in place.
• Revenue growth expectations are lower. A year ago, the largest group (36%) anticipated growth of 8-14%; this year’s majority (35%) sees less than 8%. Just over 15%.
Cornerstone International Group is a global organization positioned on all six primary continents. Its list of clients served includes half of the 1,000 largest global firms, including nine of the top 10 largest multi-nationals.
Copies of the 2012 Senior Management Opinion Survey can be reviewed and downloaded on the organization’s website at www.cornerstone-group.com/survey2012
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