OKLAHOMA CITY (OBV) – Oklahoma business leaders have a positive outlook on Oklahoma’s business and economic future, but are still concerned about workforce availability, according to the 2023 Oklahoma Business Leaders Poll (BLP).
The Business Leaders Poll – produced by The State Chamber, the Oklahoma Business Roundtable, and the State Chamber Research Foundation (SCRF) – was released to Chamber members this week.
The annual poll gathers business leaders’ thoughts and concerns on business-related issues in Oklahoma. State Chamber and Business Roundtable members also participated in the poll.
“This latest poll reflects a positive state business outlook relative to the national economy while offering us a roadmap for continuous improvement,” said Mark Funke, president and CEO, Oklahoma Business Roundtable.
Ben Lepak, SCRF executive director, described BLP as the only scientific, statewide survey that annually measures business community perspectives. Lepak said the poll is in its third year and that participation reached a new high this year, with 418 business leaders sharing their concerns and viewpoints.
“We think the Business Leaders Poll is a valuable tool for policymakers to understand how business leaders are thinking about the economy and about public policy issues,” said Ben Lepak, SCRF executive director. “This is part of our effort to be really data driven in our process for developing the policies we will advocate for at the capitol. For the third year in a row, workforce is the number one challenge for business leaders in the state and is really the thing that is most important to tackle in order to grow our economy.”
This year’s survey found that business leaders are optimistic about Oklahoma’s business environment. Key findings are as follows:
- 70 percent of business leaders believe the Oklahoma economy is going in the right direction compared to the national economy, while 83 percent of Business Roundtable and State Chamber members share this optimistic view.
- 44 percent of business leaders expect to expand their workforce in the coming year.
- 81 percent of business leaders believe business can and should be a force for good in society by encouraging dialogue, speaking out and making an impact by leading on societal issues; 86 percent of State Chamber and Business Round Table members agree.
- 76 percent of business leaders believe Oklahoma’s business community should help lead the charge to improve Oklahoma; 88 percent of State Chamber and Business Roundtable members agree.
“Business leaders fully recognize that businesses can and should be a force for good in society and specifically in Oklahoma. And it is really inspiring to see that members of the State Chamber and members of the Business Roundtable see themselves as having a special responsibility to give back to the state and to advance Oklahoma’s economic future. Our business community is truly a reflection of the Oklahoma Standard,” said Chad Warmington, president and CEO of The State Chamber.
The survey also highlighted the following areas where Oklahoma needs to improve for economic growth:
- 44 percent of business leaders chose workforce and education as the top issues Oklahoma businesses face.
- Taxes and incentives were the next highest public policy priority at 12 percent.
- 81 percent identify workforce (employee recruitment and retention) as a top two issue;
- 59 percent identify government regulations and mandates as a top two issue; and
- 32 percent identify taxes as a top two issue.
Click here for the full 2023 Oklahoma Business Leaders Poll report.