Boyden Executive Survey

Talent-led transformation in a post-pandemic world: Europe

How can global business leaders deliver on ambitions of growth and reinvention?

Executive Summary

In this regional analysis of Boyden's global report, Talent-led transformation in a post-pandemic world, we highlight findings and trends in Europe with sector insight from Boyden partners.

Across Europe, business confidence is high. Margins among non-financial corporates surpassed pre-crisis levels in Q4 2021, and S&P forecasts GDP growth for 2022 at 4.5%1, led by Spain, the United Kingdom and Germany.

Our study data show the majority of respondents, 75%, as very confident/confident in their organisation’s growth potential through 2022, with nearly half in growth or expansion mode.

However, confidence in having the right talent to align with organisational strategy is much lower, with just 42% very confident/confident. Leaders are having to ‘reinvent talent,’ revising talent strategies, investment, performance measurement and the cultural environment.

Lack of alignment goes up to the board level. Half of respondents think a different matrix of skills is needed on the board, yet only a third of respondents expect to invest in board assessment. This compares to 38% globally and 45% in North America.

Leadership development for high potentials is the top priority for investing in talent, followed by hiring new talent and redeploying or retraining existing people. This reflects lower confidence around talent, as well as marked concerns over recruitment and retention. Technology, digital transformation and innovation are common themes in our European data. The top three areas for hiring are technology/cloud/cybersecurity; digital (AI, robotics and machine learning); and marketing & sales. A key driver in performance measurement is fostering an innovative environment.

How can organisations attract the best talent? Respondents point to a strong company reputation, purpose, and product & service innovation.

SECTOR INSIGHTS

Consumer & retail: Highly confident in growth potential, but one of the least confident on talent and the most concerned about talent retention. A significant majority expect to invest in leadership development or assessment. The perceived need for different skills on the board is high, with this sector the most likely to invest in board assessment.

Financial services: One of the most bullish sectors on growth potential with the majority in growth or expansion mode. The highest perceived need for different skills on the board, but the lowest expectation of investing in board assessment.

Industrial: The least confident regarding talent, focusing on retraining or redeploying existing people. A significant majority expect to invest in leadership development or assessment.

Technology: Amongst the most confident sectors for growth potential, with the highest majority in growth or expansion mode. The most likely to hire new leaders, but expects recruitment challenges.

Healthcare & life sciences: The second most likely to hire new leaders. Just over half are in growth or expansion mode, and more than half perceive a need for different skills on the board.

Professional services: Majority in growth or expansion mode, and expects recruitment challenges.

<< Compare to Global Study >>

We explore these findings further across five core themes: 

  1. A barometer on confidence 
  2. The right talent
  3. Hiring priorities 
  4. Reinventing the board
  5. Talent look ahead 

Throughout this report, under the segment 'A closer look', we highlight key sector and leadership insights from Boyden experts across Europe.

[1] S&P Global Ratings, Economic Outlook Europe Q4 2021: A Faster-Than-Expected Liftoff

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