There is a general feeling of optimism among South Africa's captains of industry that the economy has bottomed out and that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Raymond Chasenski, MD of executive search firm Leaders Unlimited, says the South African attitude was confirmed by a recent study released by Korn/Ferry International which showed that there was a resurgence of optimism worldwide.
"Buoyed by a sustained stock market rally, however slight in some countries, executive attitudes about the state of the global economy ticked up in March, though the majority still feel we are in the midst of a 'severe recession' according to results from the latest Executive Quiz released by The Korn/Ferry Institute," Chasenski says.
He says that, because South Africa usually laggs a number of months behind the US and Europe, the uptick was not as strong as it was in those countries.
"We will probably only see a comparable growth in positive sentiment in the second half of the year," he says.
When surveyed at the beginning of March, just 7% of executives felt that the global economy was recovering, while more than three quarters (76%) said it was in severe recession. However, when re-asked the same question at the end of the month, 13% of executives felt the economy was recovering and those believing it was still in severe recession declined by 9% (67%).
Other responses probed executive sentiment towards government involvement in corporate actions. Just 11% of executives feel that government is the most important player in leading us out of recession, while business (16%) and consumers (17%) earned slightly stronger support, and 56% believe that all three are equally important.
Forty-seven percent of executives are against compensations caps, while another 22% are neutral and just 31% are in favour. However, 60% of respondents believe that executives at government-supported companies should give back bonuses.
"We are all hoping that we have nearly hit bottom and are on the way back up, but our survey results show that executives are conflicted about the relationship between business and government," Chasenski says.
"What executives do agree upon is that consumers, business and government all play vital roles in our recovery."