Just 29 percent of CFOs and senior comptrollers plan to increase hiring in the next six months, according to a study conducted by Grant Thornton. And there's worse news: 79 percent now believe that economic recovery won't happen until the second half of 2011 or later (with 42 percent opting for "later"), and 59 percent are still concerned by the threat of a double-dip recession.
Depressing stuff indeed, although the study also throws up this interesting stat: while just 30 percent of the 516 CFOs and senior comptrollers polled expect improvement in the economy over the next six months, 46 percent expect improvement in their own businesses. That rather raises the question about how much weight we should be attaching to CFO predictions of economic performance: how many, for example, successfully predicted anything to do with the onset of the recession?
While the numbers may or may not be any indication of the likely path the economy is set to follow over the coming months, they are, unfortunately, much clearer on the hiring front. It's one thing for a CFO to predict doom and be wrong. It's quite another for them to base a hiring decision—or, more accurately, the decision not to hire—on those fears.
To put it another way, negative predictions by fearful CFOs do not a double-dip make. But when those same fears mean that CFOs won't hire, it's hard to see where a recovery is going to come from either.
Here are some of the detailed numbers from the survey:
--Phil Stott, Vault.com