Magazine article New Zealand Management

NZIM: Grow Your Own Leaders; NZ Has More Trouble Filling Key Management and Leadership Roles Than Most Developed Economies. That, in Part, Is Why the NZIM/Eagle Technology Young Executive of the Year Award Is So Important

Magazine article New Zealand Management

NZIM: Grow Your Own Leaders; NZ Has More Trouble Filling Key Management and Leadership Roles Than Most Developed Economies. That, in Part, Is Why the NZIM/Eagle Technology Young Executive of the Year Award Is So Important

Article excerpt

Byline: Reg Birchfield

There's nothing quite like meeting the promise of tomorrow. For me, it happens when I am invited to join the judging panel of the NZIM/Eagle Technology Young Executive of the Year Award.

This year was no different. The three national finalists, two young women and one young man, exemplify the outstandingly talented young leaders the award's programme has uncovered for the past 17 years. They are wise beyond their 35 years or less, are extraordinarily accomplished and destined to achieve more.

They are also living testaments to the value of the management development programmes their respective organisations have provided or otherwise encouraged them to undertake. They are feedstock for New Zealand's much-needed next generation of leaders. That there aren't more similarly focused organisations making comparable efforts to find, grow and retain talented young executives and to build their enterprise-wide talent pools is both disappointing and potentially problematic for local enterprise.

Research by the global employment consultancy Manpower Group released in May this year showed that 48 percent of New Zealand employers were having difficulty filling key positions in their organisations. This result sits "well above" the global average of 34 percent, the survey said. New Zealand now ranks eighth highest of 41 countries measured for talent shortages.

And earlier this year global accounting consultancy Deloitte released its 2012 Talent Edge survey in which an overwhelming 83 percent of Kiwi employers said talent shortages were impacting their business results. Notwithstanding current economic uncertainties, talent shortages are "clearly a big issue", the report said.

Interestingly, the employers surveyed by Deloitte were optimistic about their workforce growth expectations -- except in the public sector. "But," asked study leader Richard Kleinert, "where will these employees come from?" There was, he added, a large disconnect between employer expectations and future turnover versus employee expectations on job movement. "New Zealand employers may be excessively confident in their ability to attract and retain the talent they'll need in the future," he said.

Worse to come

New Zealand's talent and skill shortages are expected to worsen next year. Employers should not be surprised, therefore, if they lost some of the "most talented" people, according to Kleinert. Employers were, he said, too inclined to take their experienced employees for granted even though they may be the most valuable in terms of experience, relationships and institutional knowledge.

NZIM chief executive Kevin Gaunt agrees with the Deloitte study and its conclusions. "We are constantly surprised by the way in which many organisations fail to look after and develop their most promising young executives. Research proves time and again that finding and attracting new talent is important, but retaining and building the talent an enterprise already has is critical, particularly in today's highly mobile and competitive talent marketplace."

Some recently released research from Pennsylvania-based global executive research company Development Dimensions International (DDI) confirms that, as Gaunt suggests, it pays organisations to "grow their own" leaders. "And that is one of the most important messages of our Young Executive Award programme," says Gaunt.

According to the DDI study, it is more expensive to hire external talent than to select talent for leadership positions from within the business. …

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