60% of senior executives currently on the job are between 50 and 59 years old. It is essential to be reconciled with the fact that while the time of their promised retirement is soon to arrive, by the admission of these soon-to-retire fifty-year-olds, the next generation is not ready to take over.
While many executives and managers are preparing for a well-deserved retirement, Canada may face a sensitive problem. As highlighted by a recent study published by Odgers Berndston, nearly half of public and private sector organizations forecast losing 20% or more of their executives by 2017. The departure is causing increasing concern as the deadline approaches. This is because at the same time, and if it were possible to anticipate the departure of these thousands of baby-boomers, the fact is that the following data is being too little taken into account: according to 90% of respondents, the vast majority of the three hundred executives surveyed, the younger generation is not yet ready to take over. The finding sounds as an admission of anxiety and which in fact exposes the entire country to a serious and massive skills deficit.
How can we explain such a disavowal of the younger generation by their elders? For 52% of those surveyed, this alarming conclusion is based on experience they themselves have had in their business: with more responsibilities, they say the have difficulty or even fail to identify within their organizations the needed qualities for leadership roles. Where is the squeeze, according to these executives interviewed for the purposes of the study? It’s a question of emotional intelligence, relationship skills and strategic thinking. These are serious shortcomings that the vast majority of these executives don’t know how to fill within the allotted time.
Working conditions currently an issue
When interviewed on current business challenges, 83% of executives on the way out find that their work today is much more difficult than it was two decades ago, at a time when they were themselves entering management positions. And technological developments are not foreign: constantly connected and therefore potentially evaluated on their performance in real time, senior executives have seen the pressure related to their responsibilities increase in recent years. The younger generation are therefore faced with a major challenge.
Training as a response?
In the list of future solutions to address this major concern, more than a quarter of respondents voted for mentoring. This is a classic proposal and relatively easy to implement, with the advantage of having already having been proven. However the remaining respondents tend towards more radical options. For one fifth of them, hiring will be oriented towards immigrant candidates for the current decade. And a great majority finally predict greater use of interim executives who could allow the company to wait, providing it with the time needed for carry out adequate training for its young talent.