CEOs in Arizona are saying that education should be the state’s top priority if it intends to stabilize the regional economy, according to a new survey by Alliance Bank of Arizona.
The survey was conducted in partnership with the Arizona Commerce Authority, the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the Greater Phoenix Economic Council. According to AZ Business Magazine, 400 executives within the state were surveyed on “the benefits and challenges of doing business in Arizona.”
The most notable discovery was that 50% of respondents cited education levels as their top concern for ensuring successful business endeavors in Arizona. The survey also revealed that many CEOs have a negative-leaning perception of the labor pool’s overall communication skills, critical thinking skills, problem-solving skills, and performance in math and science. Many CEOs stated that this doubt in employee abilities is offset by the fact that there is a strong willingness to learn.
Overall, as AZcentral stated, the survey showed that Arizona business owners believe the government’s top priority should be improving K-12 education standards. This finding may seem surprising at first because the most high-profile problems for businesses tend to focus on regulations and taxes.
But in reality, it makes sense. Only three out of four businesses typically make it past their first year, and lack of experience is the most common reason cited for small business closings. Lowering taxes or making regulations a little more flexible might be very beneficial, but policy changes will only be successful if businesses have competent employees.
The survey also provides support for Proposition 123, which many businesses in Arizona are already supporting. This legislation will be placed in front of voters in May and will propose increased funding for K-12 education in Arizona by taking a portion of the state’s land trust fund money for the next 10 years. Although it is not a permanent funding solution, it would provide the funds for stronger educational programs without increasing taxes for residents.
70% of survey respondents noted that they were in support of Proposition 123. Come May, we’ll see if residents have the same sentiments.