DATA SNAPSHOT: Talent retention and a potential recession among US CFO concerns

The latest Duke CFO Global Outlook report shows that attracting and retaining qualified employees remains the top worry for chief financial officers in the US.

Hiring and retaining employees remains the top concern for US chief financial officers, according to a quarterly survey by Duke University.

Nearly half (45.3 percent) of the 236 CFOs surveyed listed “difficulty attracting/retaining qualified employees” as their main concern last quarter, down from an all-time high of 53.1 percent two quarters ago. Other concerns include government policies, economic uncertainty and data privacy. The survey includes opinions from both public and private companies that can help private equity firms gauge the issues that their portfolio companies are currently facing.

CFOs were also asked to predict a potential recession, and 48.1 percent of respondents predicted the US will be in one by the second quarter of 2020.

“The numbers may fluctuate slightly, but this is the third consecutive quarter that US CFOs have predicted a 2020 recession,” said John Graham, a finance professor at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business and director of the survey, in a summary of the report.