INTOUCH : New Zealand Short of Future Business Leaders

New Zealand is facing critical shortage of educated and experienced future business leaders, according to recent report by Swann Group.
The report identifies “demographic hole” in the country’s business leadership pool of 35- to 50-year-olds and says the fast-emerging shortage could create potential leadership deficit of some 40,000 people.
The Swann Group report, “The Future, the Market, our Leaders: timely reminder of succession issues in the evolving New Zealand leadership market”, concludes that the leadership talent pool available to New Zealand enterprises is shrinking rapidly and identifies three key trends which indicate that attracting and retaining leadership talent will fast become an even more significant challenge for New Zealand business:
• A significant proportion of the New Zealand labour market – the Baby Boomers (born 1947-1965) will retire over the next 15 years.
• There are less people in Generation X (those below the Baby Boomers) to look to for leadership succession. As result, very substantial leadership deficit of up to 40,000 people will hollow out the leadership capability of New Zealand business.
• Leaders in Generation X are heading overseas in numbers exceeding 1500 per year, meaning there is net migration loss of executive talent each year and not enough experienced people coming through to replace this deficit.
Furthermore, says the report, migrant figures will not fill the gap because the migrants are not of the appropriate age, and for experience and cultural reasons “are not quickly of value”.
“Emphasis must be placed on the retention and development of local New Zealanders. Efforts must be made to target expatriate New Zealanders back home to increase living standards, grow wealth and exports and most critically to lead the next generation,” says Swann Group director and report author Don Jaine.
If New Zealand is to increase its innovation and competitiveness and if we are, as nation, seeking economic growth and global participation, then addressing leadership capability and effective succession is vital, Jaine says.

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