Poor leadership planning leaves many employers facing a crisis

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Due to poor planning, UK employers are facing a "leadership crisis", according to research from talent and career management specialist Right Management.

The study found just one in eight (15%) of UK-based HR professionals think their organisation has a robust leadership pipeline.

In the global study of 2,600 senior HR executives across 14 countries, a shortage of talent at all levels was reported to be the most pressing concern for 34% of HR professionals around the world, dropping slightly to a quarter (27%) in the UK.

Leadership planning is also a real concern, with a fifth (21%) of UK respondents saying a lack of high potential leaders in the organisation was their greatest challenge in 2013. The research found one in 10 (11%) said they routinely look externally before filling critical roles in their organisation.

The research also revealed organisations across the globe are facing the same leadership development challenge, with the USA and Canada being the least optimistic.

Only 4% of HR directors in the USA and 7% in Canada felt their current leadership pipeline can cover most of their business needs.

Organisations in Asia-Pacific are the most optimistic about having enough high potential leaders within their business compared to the global average.

In Singapore, 30% of senior HR directors feel that they have an adequate leadership pipeline; in Japan 26%; and in India 27%.

Mark Hodgson, talent management practice leader, Right Management, said: "It's becoming increasingly clear that very few organisations have a structured or systematic approach to identifying leadership potential.

"It can take several months to hire at a senior level which could leave many organisations facing a 'leadership limbo' if they don't have potential high-level talent within their organisation. To combat this, it's vital that organisations align their talent agenda with the future needs of the business to ensure that they have a clear pipeline of talent at all levels.

"Leadership development needs to happen before people are put into leadership roles; without this, businesses risk facing a 'talent retrofit' which could take years to really come to fruition."

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