Research finds North American leaders the least confident globally in their organization’s growth potential, due to employee burnout, competing for talent and rising costs; while confidence in having the right talent to align with strategy hovers around 50 percent
NEW YORK, 28 NOVEMBER, 2022 – Boyden, a premier leadership and talent advisory firm with more than 75 offices in over 45 countries, reports on its annual global executive talent research. Findings show confidence among North American respondents in sharp decline as issues around human capital compromise growth through Industry 5.0; 59 percent of business leaders are very confident or confident, compared with 85 percent in South America, 80 percent in Europe and 65 percent in Asia/Pacific. Confidence in North America in 2021 was at 75 percent.
The global study, Strengthening the human-centric core of Industry 5.01, How can organizations thrive in a complex world of risk? explores perspectives on risk among CEOs, boards and other senior leaders, alongside executive talent trends, priorities and investment.
“With Industry 5.0, leaders are experiencing challenges they didn’t foresee, and finding that talent is a greater differentiator than ever,” comments Craig Stevens, Managing Partner, United States and Chairman, Board of Directors, Boyden. “To succeed in today’s context of growth and profitability, business values must be based on human values, nurturing a culture where employees feel a greater personal connection to the organization.”
Confidence in having the right talent to align with strategy is also low, at an average of 52 percent very confident or confident. Data broken down by seniority reveals 49 percent for the overall workforce, 54 percent for the leadership team and 52 percent for the board.
However, Industry 5.0 is advancing well, particularly in financial services and technology, as Jenny Zhang, Principal, Boyden Canada, explains, “In the financial sector, we can’t ignore capital growth due to global immigration, direct investment and mergers and acquisitions. In the tech sector, I see three key drivers: one, human capital bringing innovative ideas, new technology and global resources including capital; two, clean tech becoming the key driver for the business ecosystem in Canada, with opportunity in the restructuring involved in new business cycles; and three, policy-driven investment spurring the development of new technology”
Research findings reveal a ‘back to basics’ approach with growth based on (i) product or service diversification, (ii) human capital and (iii) customer/client needs. Structural change is driven by ‘competing for the right talent’ and correspondingly, HR expertise is the executive skill most in need of strengthening, while ESG skills are a top priority at board level.
“With ‘uncertainty’ now a ‘certainty,’ boards must evolve as businesses adapt to a dynamic world involving conflict and war, geopolitics, cybersecurity and supply chain issues,” advises Keith Dorsey, Managing Partner, United States and Regional Practice Leader, CEO & Board Services. “Boards are now searching for diverse candidates, particularly in ESG, cybersecurity, procurement, technology and HR; board reviews are vital to identify areas of redundancy and critical skill gaps”.
Findings on how organizations are approaching ESG show that for 40 percent of respondents
ESG-sustainability is ‘part of most business discussions’ or ‘deeply embedded in organizational culture’; and for 51 percent of respondents ESG-DE&I is ‘part of most business discussions’ or ‘deeply embedded in organizational culture’.
ESG is very much a focus and priority at board level. When probing which skills need to be strengthened at board level: (i) 68 percent of respondents identify ESG-DE&I; (ii) 62 percent supply chain/logistics; and (iii) 56 percent ESG-sustainability.
In this tough environment, the most important soft skill for leaders is ‘attracting & retaining talent’. Financial and hybrid working incentives are used for recruitment and also retention, where ‘leadership development for high potentials’ may alleviate challenges; 58 percent of respondents expect retention challenges through 2023, compared with 53 percent in 2021.
An increase in senior-level recruitment is expected through 2023, up from 30 percent of respondents in the 2021 study to 45 percent in 2022, correlating with human capital as the second top driver of growth. Challenges in recruitment are expected by 68 percent compared with 66 percent in 2021, possibly boosting the use of interim managers; 37 percent of respondents are extremely likely/likely to bring in interim executives, up from 25 percent in 2021. Financial services is the sector most likely to increase engagement of interims.
Read the full report: North America Regional Analysis: Strengthening the human-centric core of Industry 5.0
1 The Fifth Industrial Revolution, also known as Industry 5.0, is a new phase of industrialisation, whereby humans work alongside advanced technologies and AI-powered robots to enhance processes within the workplace. Source: The Manufacturer. Source: https://www.themanufacturer.com/articles/the-innovation-behind-the-industrial-revolution/
About the research
This research was conducted in Q2 2022 among senior executives worldwide from publicly-quoted, private/independent, private/family owned, social enterprise and PE-backed organizations. A total of 640 complete responses include 32 percent from North America, where respondents are 27 percent board/president/CEOs; 21 percent SVP, division or country heads; and 38 percent functional leaders.
Boyden is a premier leadership and talent advisory firm with more than 75 offices in over 45 countries. Our global reach enables us to serve client needs anywhere they conduct business. We connect great companies with great leaders through executive search, interim management and leadership consulting solutions. For further information, visit www.boyden.com
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