MorthENMX30ZXe than 850 business leaders who participated in a survey for the Association of Executive Search and Leadership Consultants (AESC) consistently identified business continuity as the most pressing challenge when identifying next generation leaders.

Globally and across industries, senior executives realise there is fierce competition for top talent who can lead during times of uncertainty, execute digital transformation and foster diversity and innovation in the workplace while remaining relevant and competitive in the marketplace. As Baby Boomers retire from the workforce, there is a need for talent and not always enough immediate successors. The AESC survey ranked business continuity as the top reason for building next generation talent in their organisations. Without immediate successors, business leaders are concerned that continuity of their mission, values and long-term objectives will not be actualised.

Leaders realise that in order to be competitive and to innovate, they must have new approaches and perspectives. And that these must reflect and resonate with their customers on a personal and, increasingly, customised level.

Revenue growth was the number one reason business leaders in the Consumer and Retail sector cited for building next generation talent in their organisations.

All brands are grappling with how best to connect with next generation consumers and innovate in e-commerce and to create personal and seamless experiences both on and offline and across different devices and digital platforms as buying habits shift online.

Business leaders are realising that a competitive advantage today requires a new breed of leader, and many are looking to the next generation to get it. They are seeking talent that can thrive amid uncertainty and leaders who connect directly with consumers and understand their experiences because it is reflective of their own.

A premium is placed on agility and the ability to adapt and pivot quickly. Business leaders understand their organisation’s success relies on their ability to read market conditions quickly, anticipate changes, quickly assess risks and opportunities and develop plans to respond faster than their competitors.

Today’s business leaders increasingly realise they must look to next generation talent for the competitive advantages their businesses require. They see identifying and preparing next generation talent as a priority so that they will be ready to lead. Succession planning for key leadership roles is even more of an imperative for today’s organisations before they miss out on leveraging the abilities of next generation leadership while ensuring long-term business continuity.