Majority of multi-million pound firms feel they don’t have enough talent to grow successfully

More than half of executives believe their company lacks the talent needed to meet growth targets – research has revealed.

Conducted by global management consultancy North Highland, the survey polled 200 senior employees (vice president level and above) at UK and US firms with £750 million plus turnover, with 55% stating they felt their firm lacked the skills needed to meet their growth strategy.

A lack of clear strategy for developing, attracting and retaining talent was outlined as key amongst respondents.

Doubt was also cast on consistency of talent, with some of those polled stating they had serious concerns as to whether talent was consistent across all areas of their firms, believing some teams were significantly stronger than others.

Just one in ten said they believed their employer was operating at full potential, with 90% stating they felt there was room for improvement with regards to the speed and efficiency of their operations.

Key issues highlighted in both the demand for and supply of quality talent included:

  • A lack of available talent in the marketplace with the specific capabilities and experience needed by firms.
  • A lack of training on offer to develop existing talent in line with a firm’s demands.
  • A greater desire for varied careers, with employees keen to move regularly to develop their skillset.
  • Enhanced career aspirations resulting in reduced loyalty and making it harder to retain top performers.
  • A greater requirement for firm’s to be flexible to customer needs, resulting in a short-term requirement for a broad range of skillsets.
  • A communication breakdown with both employers and employees unsure of the skills they need and have – leading to a gap in requirements which the market often cannot supply.

Craig Spence, people and change expert at North Highland, said: “What is clear from our research is that building the right talent mix and harmonising performance across teams remains a significant challenge for firms operating today.

“We polled senior employees from firms with a substantial turnover (£750 million +) and whilst on the face of it their business is successful now, there was major doubt as to whether they would be able to meet longer-term objectives due to a lack of talent needed to drive their company forward. This goes some way in explaining why just one in ten of those polled felt their business was performing at its full potential.

“It is important to note that whilst those surveyed were working at large firms, the lessons learned are undoubtedly relevant to businesses of all sizes. We would subsequently urge all firms, from one man bands to multinationals, to make talent development one of their top priorities so to future-proof their business.”