Hadley's comment: Leadship 2025

Change at the top will create new opportunities for recruiters, says Tom Hadley, REC director of policy and campaigns

We are seeing the biggest shift in leadership and management needs for a generation. Addressing this is not only key to UK productivity and growth, it is also key to changing business culture in a way that drives good work, inclusion and employee wellbeing. Not only was this a core message from TREC 2019, it’s also at the heart of our latest Future of Jobs whitepaper – ‘Leadership 2025’ – developed in collaboration with the Association of Project Management (APM).

What is fuelling this leadership revolution? Here are three of the drivers we identified:

  • Intensifying workforce challenges – Candidate availability has been declining since 2013, according to Report on Jobs and skills needs are evolving at pace. For example, 40% of employers responding to a recent APM/PwC survey predict an increase in the need for specialist project managers. The need to embed employee wellbeing within corporate culture, and nurture a more diverse and multi-generational workforce are further priorities. This is creating the need for ‘people-focused’ leaders and managers.
  • A volatile external environment – Regulatory and societal changes are driving disruption across all sectors. Brexit has created one of the greatest ever challenges for business leaders. Preparing for different scenarios, reassuring EU workers, keeping up to speed with political developments and spreading business risk (for example, by looking at overseas markets) were identified as the main Brexit-related priorities by industry leaders.
  • The speed of technological change – The 4th industrial revolution is creating its own leadership and management revolution; 73% of leaders expect their business to face significant disruption, according to a report by Mercer. Future business leaders will operate in an increasingly changeable and high-pressured environment and harness new technology to drive productivity.

How do we make change happen? Government must boost business support and ensure education policy is nurturing a new generation of leaders and managers. For the business community, reviewing hiring procedures is key to building a dynamic and diverse leadership pipeline; facilitating this review process is at the heart of the REC Good Recruitment Campaign. The ‘Leadership 2025’ whitepaper also identifies specific opportunities for the UK’s £35.7bn recruitment sector. Over 80% of employers cite the provision of ‘expertise’ as the determining factor when choosing a recruitment partner to work with. Helping clients meet future leadership needs is an example of this.

You can follow Tom on Twitter @hadleyscomment

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