The Prediction that No One Seems to be Listening to…

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Seems ironic that in the very near future, the US workforce will be suffering from a skills and talent shortage when we have been suffering with high unemployment for the last 3 years. Look beyond today and you’ll see why HR professionals expect to spend the majority of their time in learning and talent management activities next year (and many more to come, I predict.)

30% of the US workforce will be retiring within the next 15 years (Baby Boomers are finally leaving!). So who will be replacing the Baby Boomers? Don’t look to high schools or colleges to turn out the number of talented employees that you may be hoping to recruit. A study in 2010 reports that less than 16% of high schoolers and 30 % of college graduates have “excellent” skills.

So, it makes sense that organizations should turn their attention to building leaders of their future now. What makes sense doesn’t always happen. A 2011 study by the American Management Association reported that 71.3% of the executives surveyed believe that building their corporate leadership pipeline was more important than ever before. Yet only 14% of these same survey respondents indicated that their company was well prepared to deal with the “sudden loss of a key memberof the senior management team.” 21.8% said their companies would be unable to handle this type of loss at all. This was their reaction if only ONE executive leaves. What will happen when they experience the mass exodus of a whole generation of employees who retire?

67% of organizations do not currently have any formal succession planning process (Cutting Edge Information)
45% of the world’s largest corporations have no meaningful approach in place for developing their CEO (Cutting Edge Information)
Only 24% of organizations are confident in their ability to staff leadership positions during the next five years (Watson-Wyatt)
Organizational executives are listening, they’re aware of the problem, but less than a third of US companies are taking serious steps to select, engage, and prepare their talent for the future. Yes, training and development can prepare future leaders to run the company. But it’s not a magic pill that can be swallowed overnight as a remedy for a systemic problem. Start now, not later to develop the talent you’ll need for tomorrow’s leadership gap. From the numbers we’re looking at, your organization will be on top, sitting on the leadership pipeline you’ve cultivated.