Large employers facing leadership ‘merry-go-round’

The UK’s largest companies are facing the risk of a leadership “merry-go-round” as the economy recovers, according to new research.

In a poll of 200 senior managers from the UK’s 500 largest companies, by Berkshire Consultancy, almost two-thirds (62%) said that they are dissatisfied with their current role, while more than half (57%) are unhappy with their employer.

As a result, 43% are actively looking for a new role outside their current organisation. Almost one-third (29%) plan to leave their job within the next year, rising to 54% within two years.

The Agile Leader report also shows that 56% would have left in the last year – had an appropriate opportunity arisen. One in 10 (12%) leaders revealed that they have already accepted another job.

Half of the respondents admitted they lack confidence in their organisation’s ability to hold on to the best leaders as the economic outlook improves. On average, they expect to lose nearly one-third (29%) of leaders over the next year, and almost two-fifths (38%) over the next two years.

Sarah Hunter, account director at Berkshire Consultancy, said: “Leadership succession planning and development took a back seat during the recession, leaving many senior executives feeling unsupported and unsatisfied. Those companies that are already struggling risk losing critical talent just when they need it the most.”

While many executives are already set to jump ship, changes can be made to re-engage leaders and reduce the severity of the approaching management merry-go-round, according to Hunter. “Those at the top need to be honest and visible and involve leaders fully in taking the company forwards,” she said.

“Companies should also think creatively about the way senior managers are catered for and positioned in the business – lateral moves and new responsibilities are great places to start,” hunter added.

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