Top Executives Believe U.S. Economy is Fueled by #SMBJobGeneration

Atlanta, GA – February 11, 2013
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Lucas Group, North America’s premier executive search firm, today unveiled the results of its inaugural SMB Job Generation Outlook survey. This first-ever national survey of small and medium-sized business (SMB) presidents and CEOs examines executive-level perspectives on critical issues facing the American SMB marketplace, including economic developments, employment trends, political environments, and the tangible impact these issues have on business and employment planning.

The SMB has been heralded in American discourse as the jobs engine for economic revitalization, and the Lucas Group survey revealed that SMB leaders are indeed bullish on their contributions to the U.S. economy. Among the most notable findings:

“This survey reveals a very dynamic SMB climate with considerable optimism for 2013 across a host of industries by businesses operating from the local to the global level,” said Scott Smith, Chief Marketing Officer at Lucas Group. “While the projected hiring increases are somewhat guarded and uncertainty in the economy remains, we should see a more robust economy in 2013 if these decision-makers achieve their expectations.”

Conducted in coordination with Polaris Marketing Research and Dr. Goutam Challagalla, Associate Professor at Georgia Institute of Technology College of Business, the SMB Job Generation Outlook revealed that 65 percent of SMB business leaders are optimistic about the economic prospects of their company, yet hiring the right workers is a decided challenge. Despite persistently high unemployment, only 6 percent find the hiring process easy and 60 percent of the respondents have difficulty finding qualified professional workers.

This need for skilled workers may find a solution, in part, through the hiring of U.S. military servicemen and servicewomen joining or returning to the civilian workforce. Slightly more than 15 percent of the respondents plan to hire veterans this year. Those who hired last year and plan to continue hiring in 2013 are significantly more likely (71 and 77 percent, respectively) to have a specific program for hiring vets.

“There is a clear link between SMBs and legislative initiatives. The federal government has a sizeable impact on small to medium-sized businesses and current pessimism over decision-making on Capitol Hill is significant among these business leaders,” said Smith. “Each quarter, we will gauge business leaders to examine precisely how current economic forces and political dialogue affect business and hiring plans, and with each survey, we will continue to partner with the Boot Campaign, helping to raise awareness of veterans’ needs―particularly as they relate to employment and professional job opportunities.”

The January SMB Job Generation Outlook survey found that company-focused hiring optimism in the SMB market is in sharp contrast with views of Washington politics. Almost half of the respondents said that if Congress and the President cannot resolve budget differences, that uncertainty will impact future hiring plans. More than 85 percent believe that the federal government has more impact on their business than state governments or local municipalities, yet less than 10 percent are optimistic that federal cooperation will improve in 2013.

“Despite lingering macro concerns, 65 percent of the presidents and CEOs we surveyed are optimistic about the prospects of their individual companies,” said Smith. “We find this encouraging and telling. SMB business leaders have faith in their companies and their workforces. If allowed the opportunity to pursue their growth plans with minimal legislative or economic roadblocks, they believe they can fulfill the promise of American job generation, and we look forward to examining and reporting on this dynamic market each quarter.”

About the Q1 2013 SMB Job Generation Outlook

The survey was conducted by Polaris Marketing Research on behalf of Lucas Group from December 18, 2012 through January 18, 2013. Every one of the 106 respondents was either the president or CEO of their company. The national survey covered a wide variety of industries including financial services, real estate, business services, health care, and automotive. Almost 60 percent of the respondents had from 1-500 employees, while another 15 percent had from 1500-4900 employees. The majority (58 percent) of the respondents are from private companies; 17 percent are public; 15% are family-owned; and 10 percent are owned by private equity.

About Lucas Group:

Lucas Group is North America’s premier executive search firm. Since 1970, our culture and methodologies have driven superior results. We assist mid-tier to Fortune 500 Clients find transcendent, executive talent; Candidates fully realize their career ambitions; and associates find professional success. To learn more, please visit Lucas Group at and connect with us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.