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Many Employers Do Not Have Enough Future Leaders Onboard

Even with a high unemployment rate, more than half of large and midsized companies report not having enough management successors currently onboard, according to a survey by OI Partners.

January 11, 2010
Related Topics: Performance Management

Nashville, Tenn. — Jan. 11

Even with a high unemployment rate, more than half of large and midsized companies report not having enough management successors currently onboard, according to a survey by OI Partners, a global career transition and executive coaching firm.

• 54% of companies in the survey said they do not have enough qualified successors now working for them to succeed their executives and managers.

• Only 32% of companies report currently having enough management successors in place.

• 14% of companies are not sure whether they have enough future leaders already in their organizations.

The survey included responses from 212 primarily large and midsized employers throughout North America, and it has an error rate of +/- 6.7%, according to OI Partners.

“The survey reveals a real opportunity for executives and managers — especially those now out of work — to show they can accomplish desired results for a prospective employer,” said Tim Schoonover, chairman of OI Partners.

“This is also a wake-up call for current employees to prove they should be considered for promotion now or be placed on the fast track,” added Schoonover.

The biggest source of a typical company’s future leaders is its own high-potential employees. Employers are more often developing their own high-potential employees into future leaders than they are promoting their now-ready executives, hiring from their competitors or recruiting from outside their industries, according to the survey. (Respondents were allowed to select more than one answer.)

• 72% of companies plan to internally develop their high-potential employees to become future top management.

• 54% expect to promote their now-ready executives to become management successors.

• 40% plan to hire future leaders from their competitors.

• 26% anticipate recruiting future leaders from outside their industries.

Companies that currently do not have enough management successors are more than twice as likely to hire from their competitors and are almost two times more likely to hire from outside their industries than those that have enough future management talent already in place, according to the survey.

• 48% of companies without enough management successors plan to hire from their competitors, compared to only 21% of employers with sufficient management bench strength.

• 28% of companies without enough executive talent plan to hire from outside their industries, compared to only 16% of employers that already have enough successors.

The survey results mean the following for employees and employers:

• There is an opportunity for employees — and especially out-of-work executives and managers — to demonstrate that they can bring real value to an employer. “With more than half of companies reporting they currently lack enough management successors, this is an opening for both employed and unemployed executives and managers to show they can help a company win business, achieve its goals and keep ahead of its competition,” said Schoonover.

• Executives and managers who are looking for a new job should determine whether a prospective employer has enough management successors onboard. “Companies without enough management successors are a real opportunity for people working for their competitors, and even those from outside of the company’s industry,” said Schoonover. “Find out whether a desired employer needs qualified management successors by contacting current and former employees, consultants and other vendors, and target those companies.”

• This is a wake-up call for employees currently working for companies. “Current employees who aspire to reach the top management levels need to prove that they should be considered for available higher-level positions, and/or they should be put designated as high potentials,” said Schoonover.

• Employers need to determine who their high-potential employees are and then provide them with the necessary coaching and training to turn them into future leaders. 71% of employers in the survey are currently providing high-potential employees with coaching and other developmental training to grow them into future leaders. “Employers need to fully assess the capabilities of current employees and those outside of their organizations and decide which ones to grow as future leaders,” Schoonover added.

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