PORTLAND, Ore. (TheStreet) -- The nation's business executives would like you to know that they're feeling much better about the state of things and are ready to invest more into building the economy and creating jobs.
Whether that helps their post-recession reputation or even makes them better people in the eyes of the general public remains to be seen.
The AICPA Economic Outlook Survey, which polls chief executives, chief financial officers, controllers and certified public accountants with executive roles in U.S. companies, found that businesses expect an uptick in recruitment, staff training and spending in the next 12 months as economic conditions improve. Most of the execs questioned (56%) say their companies have the right number of employees, but 15% said they planned to hire immediately, up from 13% last year. Meanwhile the portion of those surveyed who said their companies had too many employees shrank from 10% to 8%.
Executives aren't easily covered with blanket statements and are an ill fit for generalized praise or barbs. For every archetype of the soulless job slasher who floated through the economic crisis on a generous compensation package, there are those that weathered the storm, kept people on and struck a balance between the bottom line and their base existence as a human being.
It's that basic humanity that becomes part of the problem, especially when dealing with a general public that doesn't share the Type A+ personality of their bosses in the upper echelons and judges them harshly for it during tough economic times. The way executives have answered surveys in the wake of the recession and during a period of uneasy recovery also hasn't helped their bid to humanize themselves to the masses.
In fact, based on executives' own survey responses, they may be getting worse at basic human interaction as the economy improves. Though many of these examples are exceptions rather than the rule, they're not exactly erasing the images of Ken Lay, Dennis Kozlowski, Bernie Ebbers, John Rigas or even Dick Fuld as the face of executive privilege over the past decade or so. Here are just a few reasons the public at large may still hold the nation's executives in contempt: