Leadership problems around the world

Our survey reveals serious gaps in leadership across the globe. Executives and employees agree that leaders at their firms are ill-equipped to manage global, diverse workforces, and companies aren’t doing what it takes to ensure they are developing future leaders.

But confidence levels vary across regions. As the chart below shoes, survey respondents in North America, Latin America, and Europe tend to be more assured in their leaders’ ability than respondents in Middle East/Africa and Asia Pacific. In fact, only about a quarter of respondents in Middle East/Africa or Asia Pacific say leadership talent is sufficient to drive global growth.

Leadership by region

As we’ve discussed in previous posts, companies are not cultivating leadership within their organizations—and are likely to face challenges in the years ahead as a result. The situation is even more dire in Asia Pacific, where only 10% of employees say their bosses consider leadership ability important.

Leadership ability Octoer 15

For more on the leadership cliff, check out our webinar next Wednesday, October 22, at 10 am PT/1 pm ET—registration details to follow.

Regional differences in our Workforce 2020 surveys

While the story told by the global results of our survey is clear—companies everywhere are struggling to plan effectively for the workforce of the future—there are important differences at the regional and country levels.

One key difference is in the high-level visibility of people planning. Workforce issues drive strategy at the board level in 70% of firms in Asia Pacific, but only 35% of North American firms. As shown below, responsibility for workforce strategy also varies by region: In North America and Latin America, the COO or CHRO is most likely to have primary responsibility for driving workforce strategy; in Middle East/Africa and Asia Pacific, the CIO is also likely to have this responsibility.


Respondents from different regions also have different priorities and concerns about key issues. For example, 57% of Asia Pacific executives say Millennials entering the workforce are a top concern, but only 36% in North America say so (a divergence explained by the epic generational shifts in lifestyle and economic opportunity that are transforming large swaths of Asia). What’s more, perceptions of Millennials also vary greatly by country. Nearly three-quarters of Japanese executives say Millennials are interested in quality of life over career path, while under one-third of Mexican executives say this is true.

You can read about more the regional variations in our research report and think pieces to follow. You can also attend our webinars, which we’ll update you on here over the next few months.


Workforce issues across the globe

Our surveys show that companies everywhere are struggling to plan effectively for the workforce of the future—but there are variances in the way executives from different regions rate their company’s performance in terms of leadership, strategy, and skills development.

For example, companies in Asia Pacific are much more likely to say workforce issues drive strategy at the board level—but less likely to have confidence in leadership. Meanwhile, companies in North America struggle to find skilled talent and are not offering enough opportunities for their employees to develop.

Employee responses also vary significantly across regions—more on that to follow.