It’s 2010—do you know where your CEO is?
OK, perhaps that line is a bit of an overstatement, but it’s indicative of a growing crisis: the pending labor shortage and the negative influence it promises for succession planning. Simply put, if you’re not a CLO for a company with a remarkably talented and surprisingly young workforce, you may already be seeing the clouds from the coming storm.
Chances are, you’ve already heard talk in the boardrooms and HQ hallways about what lies ahead. In the United States, analysts expect more than 25 percent of the workforce will hit retirement age by 2010, threatening to leave employers with 10 million fewer employees than necessary. It’s happening abroad too: In the United Kingdom, 45- to 59-year-olds will become the largest single demographic in the workforce as early as next year.
Next year. Perhaps I didn’t overreach too much with this column’s lead sentence.
According to a Novations Group survey of 2,900 senior HR professionals, the leadership crisis is coming. By the end of this decade, U.S. population trends predict 20 percent fewer employees in the 35-to-44 age group, the typical breeding ground for the next generation of managers (and of course, managers become the succeeding generation of leaders). This could put workers back in the driver’s seat in terms of job selection. The Novations study shows that 44 percent of HR executives are concerned about a possible employee exodus.
Let me share two more numbers—one positive, one less so.
Starting with the scary side, the survey found that just one-third of HR executives feel they have an effective leadership development program in place. The good news is that more people are getting the message: About 45 percent of survey respondents are planning to step up their leadership development initiatives in order to stem the tide of trouble.
I don’t write this to be fatalistic. Tornado alarms were invented for a reason, and I hope you’re heeding that distant siren: The ostrich may find peace by burying its head in the sand, but that doesn’t mean the lion has gone away.
With this issue, we’re doing our part to help you get ready for the inevitable by rolling out the following resources:
- On page 26, you’ll find a feature article from Dr. Jim L’Allier, titled “The CLO’s Role: Preparing for Future Challenges.” The article is based on a survey conducted through Chief Learning Officer magazine’s Business Intelligence Board, and details what learning executives see as critical competencies for the future.
- Jim will take this data one step further, and present more information during an April 13 CLO e-Seminar. Jim also will be joined in that interactive online discussion by Susan Resner of ITG Competency Group. With the input of audience members, the two will create a job description for the once and future CLO. Visit www.cloevents.com/eseminars to register for the event.
- On page 58, Jeanne Meister’s “In Conclusion” column tackles this very topic and offers three concrete suggestions chief learning officers should be implementing now to ward off the looming crisis.
There’s probably a cynical side of many of us, wondering if this is the first 21st century version of the Y2K crisis (“much ado about nothing,” as Shakespeare might say). I’d caution against wrapping yourself in that cloak. Y2K was based on fear and speculation, but the worker shortage and resultant leadership crisis is based in solid numbers and simple mathematics.
Has your protective planning begun yet? I’d love to hear how you’re using education and foresight to keep the ship sailing smoothly.
Editor in Chief