Global Executives Treading Cautiously Into '12

Levels of financial optimism among senior executives are plummeting, according to an annual survey by Omnicom Group’s Doremus and the Financial Times.

Six out of 10 respondents expect further decline in the global economy over the next six months. And nearly half of them do not believe the economy will recover until or after 2013.

Respondents were only slightly more optimistic about the global and local economics than they were in 2008, and maintained the same level of optimism regarding their industries and companies.

This year, there were 628 respondents to the ninth annual Decision Dynamics survey, representing a mix of company sizes and industries from North America, Europe and Asia.

“As we see companies increase their spending, even at miniscule increments, we expect there will be a steady snail’s pace back to recovery,” said Hope Picker, the Doremus director of strategic research, in a statement. “Barring any further disasters, natural or otherwise, this show of modest spending is a sign of life, and gratefully not life support.”



Only a quarter of the companies in the survey plan to hire this year while the same proportion expects their organization’s employment level to decrease. This is somewhat worse than the 2010 findings and very similar to the results from 2009.

Low consumer confidence and U.S. and European debt issues will continue to impact more companies over the next six months or longer.

Companies that operate globally are most likely to feel the fallout from some of the year’s global issues, namely: the European debt crisis, U.S. debt/budget, Arab spring, and Japan disasters. There are also geographic differences, with Asian respondents this year feeling the impact of European and U.S. economic issues.

“Global business leaders have felt the repercussions of the European and U.S. debt crises, as well as global unemployment, battered consumer confidence, and a year filled with natural disasters,” said Daniel Rothman, director of research in the Americas for the Financial Times, in a statement. “As we enter 2012, the only sure fact for many companies is that visibility remains poor.” 

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