More Execs Are Asking: Who Comes Next?

December 13, 2007 (PLANSPONSOR.COM) - The most important task facing today's corporate leaders is choosing their successors, a new study asserts.

A news release from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Foundation reported three out of four executives polled said succession planning was their most significant challenge. Seven out of ten of the executives said the next most pressing problems were “providing leaders with the skills they need to be successful” (71%) and “recruiting and selecting talented employees” (69%).

“This is a wake-up call for every organization, regardless of size or type of business,” said Wayne Cascio, chairman of the Board for the SHRM Foundation, in the news release. “The shortage of skilled executives who are being groomed to succeed existing ones is real and it may threaten the ability of many firms to achieve their long-term strategic objectives.”

According to the research, the five most significant HR-related challenges were:

  • succession planning ,
  • recruiting and selecting talented employees,
  • engaging and retaining talented employees,
  • providing leaders with skills to be successful, and
  • rising health care costs.

The announcement said the executives surveyed do not generally feel confident their companies have a plan to address these upcoming tasks.

“Top executives are beginning to realize the right people are not in the pipeline to fill vacancies left by retiring Baby-Boomers,” said Cascio, in the release. “Sadly, too few organizations have developed succession plans or invested in fostering the talent they need for tomorrow.”

A total of 526 executives participated in the survey. Hay Group invited 36 executives to participate in in-depth interviews.

The report is avaiolable at .