Talent in the 2020s: What Does it Mean for Future Leadership?

  • Ezra
  • July 6th, 2021

What does the term "talent" even mean in a workforce setting in the 2020s, and how does this changing and evolving term impact what the future of leadership will look like in key organizational positions?

Leadership Talent in the 2020s
Talent In The 2020s White Paper

Free White Paper Talent in the 2020s

Talking “talent” and what it really means for an organization in terms of their key leaders and employees.

Talent is a word that has become more and more popular in the business world. Although there is no specific consensus on what it means, a good starting point is “individuals who can make a significant difference to organizational performance,” whether this is through immediate actions or long term growth.

Good traits to identify key talent by often include

  • self motivated
  • results orientated
  • takes pride in their work
  • doesn’t need micromanaging
  • sets a positive example to others
  • natural leader
  • team player
  • positive thinker
  • resilient personality
  • creative
  • confident

Education levels are trending up! 39% of millennials now have a bachelor’s degree, compared to just 29% of generation X or only 25% of baby boomers. This means that character is a more critical factor for talent identification than credentials.

Future leaders need to be adaptable: innovation and adaptive to change will be the most critical leadership qualities as of 2030. At present, however, there’s a disjoint between up and coming and existing talent.

The top three upcoming threats according to CEOs are unemployment, environmental issues and social instability. However young leaders instead target their big three concerns as over regulationgeo-political uncertainty and exchange rate volatility.

There’s also a difference in how these two types of talents view an organization as an attractive workplace: young leaders are much less interested in pay and benefits, but hugely value workplace culture, behaviour and the contribution of the workplace to health and wellbeing.

Flexibility is now a key desire. A whopping 76% of millennials would take a pay cut in order to work for a company offering flexible working hours, and 40% of people feel that the greatest boon to remote working is a flexible schedule. Despite this, 44% of companies still don’t allow remote working at all as a standard practice.

COVID has only aggravated this issue, with 1 in 5 people voluntarily changing employers in 2020, 32% of which said they did so because they needed more flexibility in their hours or location.

There’s a huge disconnect between what future talent wants, and what the current leadership pool thinks that it wants. 80% of executives believed that they were supporting the physical and emotional health of their workforce during the pandemic, but only 46% of employees agreed with this. In addition, 74% of executives felt that they were helping their workforce to learn the new skills needed for new modes of working, but only 38% of employees agreed.

Investing in personalized employee development and wellbeing is now the key to retaining and developing leadership talent. 55% of millennial employees do not feel engaged with their job and 16% feel actively disengaged, while 60% of companies that have made the most progress in offering upskilling report both a stronger corporate culture and better employee engagement.

In summary, the leaders of tomorrow are not the same as the leaders of today. To keep pace with an ever-changing world, organizations must ensure that they recruit, engage and retain the best talent by making themselves attractive to work for. This is best done by treating employees as individuals to invest in, not as one-size-fits-all replaceable assets.

Talent In The 2020s

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