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FT/Doremus poll shows senior execs still exercising caution

The Financial Times and Doremus, the global business communications agency, announce the 2009 results of the 6th annual “Decision Dynamics” survey, which recently polled 470 executives representing a mix of industries and company sizes in North America, Europe and Asia.

Between 40 to 50 percent of respondents said they expect improvement in local and industry conditions, as well as improvement in their own companies’ results.

Despite growing optimism, executives remain cautious about spending

Even with respondents reporting increased optimism over the economic outlook, spending plans are at similar levels to what they were a year ago, when economic conditions were seen as “getting worse” all around.

Staffing cuts outnumber hires

For the first time since the survey began in 2003, the number of senior level executives who intend to cut employment outnumbered those planning to hire.

When respondents were asked how their organizations’ employment numbers would change compared to last year, 25 percent said they planned to hire this year, versus 32 percent who planned to cut employment. (In 2008, these proportions were reversed).

“Proactive” suppliers more likely to win the business

When posed with the question: “Which supplier is more likely to get work from you in prosperous times as compared to tough times?” the executives responded that the provider who was “most proactive about helping” would get their business, in good times and in bad, even trumping those service providers who were bargaining with price, or with whom they had an already established relationship.

Which Supplier is Most Likely to Secure the Business

“Senior level executives are treading cautiously,” said Carl Anderson, CEO of Doremus. “But there are signs of optimism rooted in traditional business values, such as appreciation for service providers that are proactive about helping over simply using those who offer the cheapest price. These are all positive, optimistic signs that things are starting to turn in a favorable direction…if not as quickly as we’d all like.”

For further information, please contact:

Kristina Eriksson, Financial Times, +44 20 7873 4961 or kristina.eriksson@ft.com

About the Financial Times:

The Financial Times, one of the world’s leading business news organisations, is recognised internationally for its authority, integrity and accuracy. Providing extensive news, comment and analysis, the newspaper is printed at 23 print sites across the globe, has a daily circulation of 408,544 (ABC figures, September, 2009) and a readership of 1.3 million people worldwide. FT.com is the definitive home for business intelligence on the web, providing an essential source of news, comment, data and analysis for the global business community. FT.com attracts 11.4 million unique users, generating 83.2 million page views (ABCe figures, March 2009) and now has over 1.4 million registered users.

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