Employers See Talent Shortage in Upper Echelons as Most Critical

May 16, 2007 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - The greatest challenge facing U.S. businesses in terms of staffing a talented workforce is a shortage of potential leaders, with more than half of respondents in a recent survey naming that as their first or second greatest difficulty, a recent study by Bersin Associates suggests.

According a news release about the 400-page study, the lack of potential leadership candidates rank as the biggest concern, while the impending retirement of baby boomers trailed behind as the seventh greatest concern.

The research also shows talent shortages across all industries, with particular problems in health care, government, utilities, oil and gas, and telecommunications. The most critical talent shortages reported by respondents include a scarcity of managers (53%), a critical shortage in the engineering and technical professions (48%), and shortages of sales professionals (39%).

The study found that the areas driving a shortage in corporate talent include an economic growth across all industries, a demographic shift in the age of the workforce, the changing values and learning styles of workers.

The study also includes a list of the top 22 talent management processes that can make the greatest business impact, with the top three being:

  • Formal or informal coaching programs for employees, 48%.
  • Consolidation of staffing requirements across the organization, 42%.
  • Ability of current workforce planning process to identify current and future talent gaps, 38%.

Bersin & Associates research showed that only 21% of responding organizations currently have some talent management strategy in place and fewer than 5% have implemented a clear strategy with operational plans and executive ownership.

Organizations that have implemented talent management software are only 8% more effective at solving the talent shortage problems.

“Talent management is a business problem which must be solved through senior executive commitment and a focus on integrated talent management processes,” said Josh Bersin, president of Bersin & Associates, in the release. “Software can assist with these improvements, but it doesn’t create improvement.”

A complete copy of the study can be purchased for $1,495 at www.bersin.com .