Business man playing with a basketball at the officeThe 2013 Executive Search Industry Global Outlook Report released in January this year by the Association of Executive Consultants has revealed that there will be continued shortages of senior executive talent throughout the world. Some of the acutest talent shortages are expected to occur in China, Brazil and Africa and the current sectors/areas that are facing most demand for senior executive talent are engineering, general management and board of director functions.

Since it is becoming increasingly hard to find senior executive talent in 2013 – and since there are no signs this trend is going to reverse in the next few years – this is a clear call to action for employer and talent management teams.

It seems employers may not be able to rely as heavily on the external resource pool for senior executive talent as they have done in previous years. This means you may need to start or at least bolster your succession planning process. Employers should be asking themselves these questions of all their key positions, “If this critical person X was to resign, how many candidates (if any) are ready and able to step into their shoes? And in the current climate, how long will it take us to externally fill the role?” Clearly, if you are finding that you possess these critical points of failure in your business and that you have no/few  internal back fill prospectscoupled with a slow external time to hirenow is the time to start or beef up your succession planning processes.

At a basic level, this means building a succession planning process where you can reliably screen and select high-potential job candidates and employees from the existing population, and that you have a development program to groom, retain and prepare this talent for future succession of your leaders.

But the work doesn’t stop there with succession planning. In order to attract and retain high potentials and senior talent, you need to build a business and employer value proposition that inspires, motivates and engages high potentials and senior talent. So, what does this environment look like in this day and age?

Well, a recent Gallup Survey has provided some excellent high-level insight into the kind of organization you need to develop to attract and retain high potential and senior talent. In their survey they asked highly educated job seekers (advanced or graduate level) what was most important to them in their job search. They found that these kind of job seekers place a lot of importance on the mission and culture of a company, more so than those with lower levels of education. They also value working for an innovative company more than those with a lower education. Gallup also postulated that high potentials looking for management roles might also be looking for a company that has a strong leadership team and offers the right resources to help them lead and manage their team. Ideally, you would also survey your own high potentials and senior high performers as a distinct population to find out what they value in an employer and business — and then develop the employer brand accordingly.

So, the message for employers at the moment, in an environment of senior manager talent shortages, is to start beefing up your succession planning, while at the same time developing your organizational brand so it is attractive to both high potential talent and senior management talent alike.

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