Amid all the financial doomsaying due to funding winter and gloomy outlook, sixty-eight per cent of chief executives worldwide are going ahead with a plan to hire it big and intend to increase their company’s headcount this year, according to a new survey.
At the same time, with a looming recession and central banks' measures to raise interest rates to fight high inflation, CEOs across the globe are also worried about the economy.
In the survey done by Greenhouse, just 11% of CEOs said they expect to reduce their firm’s headcount this year. Despite economic headwinds and difficulty in raising funds, they’re still hiring. A staggering figure gives testimonial to the fact.
The data comes close on the heels when the U.S. economy added 517,000 jobs in January—more than double economists’ forecasts—and the unemployment rate fell to a 53-year low of 3.4%. Before the latest jobs report, a drumbeat of tech industry layoffs painted a much darker picture of the labor market.
Over 150,000 tech workers lost their jobs in 2022 as once-high-flying tech stocks tumbled, and big tech companies alone have now shed more than 70,000 workers in the past 12 months.
At the same time, some 98% of chief executives said they are “bracing for an economic downturn” in a January EY survey—with 55% admitting they’re preparing for something “worse than the global financial crisis.”
But despite the recession fears and tech industry woes, layoffs still aren’t in the cards for most companies. And roughly a third of chief execs plan to increase their headcount by 10% or more, while 19% plan a 30%-plus increase.
A January PwC survey of 4,410 CEOs worldwide found a similar phenomenon in hiring plans. CEOs are cautious about the economy, and 52% said they plan to cut costs this year. But at the same time, retaining talent remains a top priority.
Only 19% of CEOs said in PwC’s survey that they were implementing hiring freezes, and just 16% planned to reduce their company’s headcount.
“This stands in stark contrast to what we heard from CEOs back in October and November of 2008, when about twice as many told us they anticipated near-term headcount reductions,” the PwC researchers noted.
Conference Board researchers also found in their January C-Suite Outlook, based on responses from 1,131 executives worldwide, that although a recession was the top “external” concern among CEOs, attracting and retaining talent in a tight labor market was the most pressing “internal” concern.
“While CEOs globally are looking to contain costs and reduce discretionary spending—actions typically taken during a slowdown—employees may be able to breathe a sigh of relief, as few executives are turning to layoffs,”
Dana Peterson, chief economist of the Conference Board, explained in a statement. “Instead, they plan to mitigate risk by accelerating innovation and digital transformation, pursuing new opportunities in higher-growth markets, and revising business models—the three most-cited actions.”