The Leadership Crunch


Posted: June 21, 2017

By: Megan Weekley


The Leadership Crunch

Earlier this year, the Conference Board of Canada (CBOC) released their fourth edition of Talent Management Benchmarking: Human Resources Trends and Metrics survey. The research provides HR professionals an overview of a decade of trends in human capital management and a wide range of current benchmarks to support business and strategic planning. One of the research areas looked at the state of leadership development in organizations.


For some time we have been hearing a lot about the precarious state of leadership development in many organizations, which has sometimes led to what has been called the “leadership gap” or the “leadership cliff”. The CBOC report labels it as a “leadership crunch” and suggests it is the result of the deficit of employees available in an organization to take on leadership roles as many senior and second-level executives approach retirement. The report states that leadership capacity topped the list as the most pressing human capital challenge in both the short-term (12 months) and long-term (3-5 years).


Leaders are obviously an important part of any organization, but why is the leadership crunch so concerning? The CBOC survey suggests that a leader’s role is so much more than just setting and implementing strategy. According to the CBOC report:


Leaders play an outsized role in employee engagement, as they do retention. In addition, globalization, economic turbulence, disruptive technologies, and the impact of poor or unethical decisions are all driving the growing complexity of leadership roles. Because of this changing complexity, it is imperative to identify promising individuals and to develop and retain those with the potential to grow into senior roles.


The CBOC report suggests that succession planning is crucial to filling this crunch and to the continuity and success of any organization. While organizations report reduced difficulties in the past decade recruiting the overall workforce, recruiting leaders continues to be a challenge at almost a fifth of organizations. Out of this necessity, many organizations are looking internally for leadership development to ensure reliable succession for key positions. Over the last 10 years, the CBOC has seen a steady increase of organizations identifying critical leadership positions for the purpose of succession planning.


What is your organization doing to ensure succession planning to fill crucial leadership positions? If your organization is not already feeling the impact of the leadership crunch, research shows that they will soon. Being prepared to meet this challenge head-on will ensure the long-term competitiveness and success of your organization in the ever-changing and fast-paced economy of tomorrow.



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