The workforce hasn’t yet seen the full scope and force of the Great Resignation – and even the most senior leaders of companies plan to leave their jobs soon, a new report from KellyOCG – the outsourcing and consulting group of global staffing provider Kelly, finds.
In KellyOCG’s global workforce survey of 1,000 senior executives in 12 countries, 72% say they plan to leave their employer within the next two years.
These leaders also expressed a lack of confidence in their organizations’ ability to retain talent and meet employees’ changing expectations: 66% believe their organization would receive an unfavorable grade for how they treated employees during the pandemic.
The new 2022 KellyOCG Global Workforce Report uncovers the disconnect between evolving employee expectations and the support firms provide. The report identifies the greatest talent challenges and risks facing organizations as they emerge from the pandemic. It also explores how companies are transforming across four critical dynamics of success: workforce fluidity; diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI); employee experience; and adoption of tools and technologies.
“Our research signals there is significant talent demand for a life-work shift. Even senior leaders are experiencing it and acknowledge that employers could be doing more,” said Tammy Browning, president of KellyOCG.
More than half of senior leaders worldwide (58%) are unhappy in their current position, and 72% plan to leave their employer within the next two years. This indicates that the full force of the Great Resignation has yet to be felt – and this widespread “boss loss” will have significant implications for companies and the global economy.
Firms are not going far enough or fast enough to achieve diversity, equity and inclusion and support employees’ mental health. Only around one-third have implemented innovative initiatives to improve DEI, such as advocacy groups and support programs (and only 19% provide DEI training for leaders).
Even though more than 25% of those surveyed reported an increase in employee absences due to poor mental health, 70% do not have a workplace culture where it’s acceptable to disclose mental health challenges as a reason for taking time off.
Another reason executives are quitting? Well, firms are lagging when it comes to adopting the right tools and technologies required to develop their workforce. Nearly two-thirds do not yet have data analytics tools that enable them to capture trends around employee retention and productivity – even though 76% of firms who have adopted such tools say they have been positively received by employees.
In a Q&A with Tammy Browning, president of KellyOCG, she explained how the “boss loss” will affect the future of work.
Allwork.Space: What exactly is the “boss loss?”
Tammy Browning: When we consider a boss loss we think about the great resignation and the number of people that have chosen to find alternative work or a different means of work based on the pandemic and the changing dynamic of the world.
What we didn’t see through the initial wave of people, either resigning or starting new careers or retiring altogether, was a significant shift in the leadership roles. What we found – which was a fascinating statistic – is when asked, many leaders (72%) indicated that they would be leaving the workforce.
When you think about the dynamic of executive leadership in particular leaving the workforce, the cascading or ripple effect that that will have on the industry or on their segment or on their hiring, it’s pretty staggering.
Allwork.Space: Who will replace those executives?
That’s actually a very interesting dynamic because as we look at who’s coming in and what’s next in terms of the generation, the individuals that will be promoted or moved into roles to backfill those that are leaving will be those that are currently in the ranks today.
I think where we see an opportunity or potentially a concern is… do they have the skills? Have they had enough time in the job or role to be able to take on some of the executive level work?
When you consider the reason the executives are leaving… that dynamic isn’t going to change even if replaced with the next layer down – it’s simply unmanageable workload. There has to be a significant shift in the way in which people work.
The amount of work people have had to do over the last number of years shows that people are obviously doing much more with less, and with less people. Our report has really shown that a manageable workload and work-life balance is what executives suggest they’re not receiving.
Allwork.Space: What are a few factors contributing to the boss loss?
It’s a staggering number of executives that don’t feel that they’ve got a good balance in their workload. And then of course, just unmanageable work. It’s no secret that executives have been consolidated over the years in terms of taking on other roles and responsibilities and not being compensated for it. They don’t have flexibility, and now they’re overloaded with work.
Allwork.Space: What will the boss loss mean for companies and the economy?
Executives often drive the behaviors of an organization to include how they go to market with their culture and how they’re perceived in the marketplace. So when you have a major shift in leadership, no matter what the circumstances, you always have disruption.
The final answer is we are going to see disruption, and we are going to see it cascade all the way through an organization, and people will have to pivot to a new way of working, a new culture, and a new leader’s perspective.
There is an unknown, but well-known anecdotal fact that the leadership of tomorrow does not have the same skill to build leadership today. We see that there could be, in fact, skill gaps with the level of knowledge that this next generation is coming in with.
I think the end result will be that the economy could falter slightly even more based on lack of leadership.