UK risks ‘leadership time bomb’, says report

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The UK is at risk of a shortage of leadership talent if it fails to identify and nurture potential leaders for the future, talent measurement company SHL has warned.

SHL’s analysis of global talent data found that the UK ranks third in the world for its current supply of effective leaders. However, when analysing the supply of potential leaders for the future, the UK fell to 21st place.

According to SHL’s criteria of key leadership characteristics, 10% of the UK’s population are currently identified as “effective leaders” and 37% have leadership potential for the future.

Effective leaders were identified as those who had the ability to: build relationships; solve problems; communicate effectively; think laterally; influence; respond positively to change; organise; and motivate. Potential leaders were identified as those who exhibited some of these characteristics but required additional development.

However, while the UK only ranked behind Hong Kong and Germany for its current supply of effective leaders, it was overtaken by countries such as Mexico, Turkey and Egypt when judged in terms of its pipeline of potential future leaders.

Paul Levett, chief product officer at SHL, said: “Despite having a strong supply of leaders for today, the UK has a leadership time bomb on its hands if it doesn’t invest in learning and development to cultivate its potential leaders and remain competitive.

“Rising education standards and a culture of entrepreneurialism are some of the many environmental factors that are driving emerging economies such as Brazil, India, Mexico and Turkey up the rankings for future leadership potential. These nations have a huge growth opportunity if they can identify, nurture and develop this potential.”

SHL’s infographic of the research explains the key differences between current and future leadership supplies globally.

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Supply of leadership potential: Top 25 countries

EFFECTIVE LEADERS OF TODAY

POTENTIAL LEADERS OF TOMORROW

Ranking 1-25 of population

Country

% of population

Country

% of population

1

Hong Kong

 

14

Mexico

54

2

Germany

13

Turkey

50

3

UK

10

Egypt

44

4

Australia

10

Switzerland

44

5

US

10

Brazil

42

6

Switzerland

10

India

41

7

Canada

10

Italy

41

8

Japan

9

US

41

9

Singapore

9

Germany

40

10

New Zealand

8

Netherlands

40

11

Sweden

7

China (Taiwan)

39

12

China (Taiwan)

7

United Arab Emirates

39

13

France

7

Denmark

39

14

Thailand

7

Sweden

37

15

Finland

7

Portugal

37

16

Belgium

7

Russia

37

17

Spain

6

Spain

37

18

Turkey

6

Ireland

37

19

Italy

6

Indonesia

37

20

South Africa

6

China (Hong Kong)

37

21

United Arab Emirates

6

United Kingdom

37

22

Mexico

6

Norway

36

23

Denmark

5

Poland

35

24

Brazil

5

Canada

35

25

Norway

5

China (Mainland)

34

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