Russell Reynolds Associates Identifies Talent Availability, Economic Volatility and Geopolitical Uncertainty as Top Threats Facing Global Executives

Leadership advisory firm Russell Reynolds Associates (RRA) released its 2022 Global Leadership Monitor, the second annual survey tracking threats to organizational health—and senior leaders’ preparedness to face them.

The Global Leadership Monitor surveyed 514 CEOs and board leaders, as well as 511 C-suite leaders and 565 next-generation Leaders (senior talent who sit one or two levels below the C-suite) across 46 countries in the Americas, EuropeMiddle EastAfrica, and Asia Pacific.

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In the analysis of responses, three inter-related threats rise to the top: uncertain economic growth, geopolitical instability, and talent/skill shortages.

Coming off the back of a challenging labor market, 72% of leaders cited the availability of key talent/skills among the top five most pressing threats (from a list of 20 threats) to organizational health over the next 12-18 months (up 13 percentage points since 2021).  Uncertain economic growth and geopolitical instability were the next two most frequently cited threats, the latter rising seven places in the ranking.

These three top threats all rank among the issues that leaders say their organizations are least prepared to face.

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“Our research makes clear the profound level of geopolitical and economic uncertainty with which global business leaders are dealing in the current operating environment,” said RRA chief executive officer Constantine Alexandrakis. “These conditions are not expected to change any time soon, making it pivotal to have leadership in place that can navigate choppy waters effectively and inspire trust and confidence enterprise wide.”


Other global themes and findings from the survey include:

  • Half of leaders say their leadership teams are unprepared to face economic uncertainty. Those leadership teams that are well prepared are differentiated by their approach to digital and sustainability.
  • Consumers/customers remain the top stakeholder group over the next five years, while employees have climbed in importance. Ranked second, ahead of investors, the gap between employees and consumers as key stakeholders has narrowed by 18 percentage points.
  • While the great attrition risk experienced in 2021 has abated somewhat, fifty-six percent of next-generation leaders are still willing to make a move to another employer for the right opportunity. Importantly more than two-thirds are not confident in the leadership succession plans at their organization. “Career recalculation” is the key issue and organizations must focus on providing growth and development to retain their next-gen leaders.

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