Keeping Up With the Demand for Talent

While most organizations recognize the need to identify and develop future leaders, many struggle to do so. Among the problems are inconsistency in search criteria and inability to forecast potential.

Identifying, developing and retaining high-potential talent could be the single greatest challenge organizations face during the next decade, but few organizations are confident in their ability to meet this challenge.

Eighty-four percent of talent development professionals surveyed by UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School reported that the demand for high-potential talent has increased in the past five years, driven primarily by growth (74 percent) and competitive pressure (61 percent) (Figure 1). Almost half (47 percent) of those talent development professionals stated in the “UNC Leadership Survey 2013: High-Potential Leadership” report that the current pool of high-potential talent does not meet the anticipated future need (Figure 2). Another 18 percent of those surveyed didn’t know if the current pool of high potentials will meet future needs.


In addition, organizations expressed only moderate confidence in their ability to fill mission-critical roles and develop talent. Survey respondents rated their ability to forecast the skills and competencies needed for success during the next three to five years as good. Participants gave a similar rating to their ability to forecast potential shortages in the talent pipeline during the next five years.

Challenges in Identifying High Potentials

More than half of the survey respondents (56 percent) have a formal process to identify high-potential employees. Another 21 percent plan to start or restart a process to identify it. They are motivated by the need to meet demand for future leaders (83 percent) and the desire to retain key talent (83 percent). These organizations recognize that identifying and investing in high-potential talent improves commitment and engagement, laying the foundation for future success.

Originally published in Talent Management


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