Employers can no longer take for granted that there will be a rich pipeline of talent waiting to succeed ambitious managers as they move further up the chain. You are probably thinking that the reason for these talent shortages in the management ladder is a result of the global war for talent that we regularly talk about. This is clearly part of the reason for these talent shortages, but it seems that the main reason for management talent shortages is apathy, or maybe antipathy, towards the management career in general.
Based on my experiences in HR, I can’t say that I am totally surprised by the findings of the new CareerBuilder survey, which revealed that the overwhelming majority of workers don’t aspire to leadership roles. Yes, in their study released in September they discovered that just 34 percent of workers aspire to leadership positions and a mere 7 percent aim for senior or C-Level Management.
What was the reason for this? Is the 87 percent-disengaged working population just too demotivated to even lift a finger to click to apply for the job? No, it is nothing so cynical and negative. It seems that there are far more positive and philosophical reasons for not being drawn to management. It seems that 52 percent of workers are satisfied in their current role, and a third don’t want to sacrifice work-life balance, while 17 percent feel they don’t have the necessary education to be a manager.
Now, I am not saying for one second that employers shouldn’t respect the career choices and aspirations of their junior staff, but just because staff don’t want to be managers, that doesn’t mean they won’t make good managers and even enjoy the role if they become one. One the other hand, just being purely ambitious and driven doesn’t mean a staff member will make a good manager. This is why employers simply can’t afford to write off the highly-talented-but-not-upwardly-motivated talent and hand it all over to the power hungry and ambitious.
This is why I believe employers need to do more than simply advertise managerial roles or hire through internal networks, as this approach will clearly favor the more upwardly motivated and gregarious – who may not necessarily make the best managers.
To get access to all the high potential talent from both the ambitious and non-upwardly motivated talent pool, you’ll need to adapt your job advertising strategy. In fact, you may need to do a little (or perhaps a lot) of positive marketing around management roles in particular, because it seems that managerial roles have gone out of fashion a little (or perhaps a lot), largely due to the distrust that has begun to envelope management as a result of mistakes and broken promises during the recent recession. The current perception of management is not good.
Therefore, you’ll need a positive PR campaign in your business which works to challenge any false perceptions around management, remove uncertainty and highlight any positive aspects that may not be widely appreciated. You’d probably want to address the issues of work-life balance, job satisfaction, and any misconceptions about educational requirements. This PR campaign could work to remove/improve some of the negative perceptions around management.
With the correct positive marketing campaign around managerial roles in your business, you may be able to significantly increase applications from high-potential applicants in the ‘reluctant to climb’ pool, increasing your overall pipeline of talent.