Leadership Challenges in a Changing World

The following is an excerpt from volume 16 of The Association of Executive Search and Leadership Consultants (AESC) Executive Talent Magazine: EMOTION AND MACHINES: How Companies are Employing Artificial Empathy to Connect with Customers. You can access a full copy of the magazine here.

Independent research published by The Conference Board (TCB) and two recent studies released by AESC take the pulse of global business executives and leaders of AESC member firms worldwide in order to gauge the top issues facing organizations, now and in the future. Karen Greenbaum, AESC president and CEO, pulls the research together to explain the leadership challenges faced by a changing world. 

“Attracting and Retaining Top Talent Remains the Number One Business Issue Around the World” The Conference Board C Suite Challenge 2019: The Future-Ready Organization.

The talent shortage continues, and according to Greenbaum it is only getting worse. “Everyone is looking for the next generation of digital, diverse leaders, and it’s a candidate market. The top talent has choices, and there is a high demand for talent with similar profiles.” 
Greenbaum identifies four key forces that influence the global business climate: global uncertainty, a mass demographic shift, technology accelerating the pace of change, and gender inequality. Greenbaum explains how each of these forces are talent issues. 


Global Uncertainty is the New Norm: “Uncertainty around the world creates a situation where businesses are trying to figure out how to lead in a time of instability. That may require in itself a different kind of leadership.” 

Mass Demographic Shift: “The demographic shifts are driving interesting challenges. While its different around the world, there is an aging demographic that’s retiring, and people are living longer. We have this big population of older workers and retirees who are living a long time, combined with a declining birthrate in most parts of the world, so there aren’t as many people coming up through the ranks.” 

Technology Accelerates the Pace of Change: “Businesses of all types are looking at how technology is changing their business. This isn’t about tech businesses—it’s about all businesses. Businesses are asking, ‘how is technology transforming what we do? How is it transforming us internally, how is it changing our clients, and our business strategy?’” She says, “It’s not about a particular function or business or industry. It’s about leveraging technology to make us more efficient, to better connect us with our customers and to drive innovation. And it’s about who are the leaders who can inspire and motivate transformative thinking?” 

Gender Inequality is Still a Reality: “At a time when there is a shortage of talent, half of the world is underemployed—women. And that’s everywhere in the world. There are a great many talented women who aren’t being given the opportunities to move up to the upper echelons of management. The reasons are many, and complex. According to the World Economic Forum, Future of Jobs Report, reasons include lack of work-life balance, unconscious bias amongst managers, lack of female role models, lack of qualified incoming talent and even women’s confidence and aspirations. The fact is that gender inequality is a reality around the world and it's past time for this to change."

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