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A majority of professionals aren’t interested in being CEOs

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Attempting to attract and retain your talent by offering them senior leadership positions might once have been an effective strategy – but looks like that has changed.

If this new study from Saba and is anything to go by, a surprisingly large number of workers are simply not interested in the corner office.

Polling more than 700 leaders in talent and learning management, the Global Workforce Leadership Survey found only 11% of professionals are aspiring to attain C-level positions.

Among these respondents, only 36% of women versus 64% of men aspire to be C-level executives, highlighting a striking gender divide in career ambitions.

Additionally, the report found only 31% of younger Millennial employees wanted senior leadership positions – slightly less than their Gen X seniors (38%).

“What’s concerning here is that, quite literally, the future leadership at some critical global organisations is at risk,” said Emily He, chief marketing officer of Saba.

“There’s more at play than the retirement of Baby Boomers; the fundamental approaches businesses take to find, develop and inspire leaders—at all levels—need to change.”

Such concerns about leadership pipelines of companies were echoed by HR professionals and organisations themselves.

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While 30% of HR leaders polled said they were struggling to find candidates to fill senior leadership roles, only 47% said that they have an adequate pool of talent to fill new roles in their company.

The report hinted such adverse figures might have been triggered by ineffective policies to develop the next generation of leaders.

Almost four out of 10 (39%) of companies stated they offer leadership development programmes, but only 15% of employees feel the training they receive is preparing them for the next position.

“The bottom line is that companies need to rethink their talent management and employee engagement strategies,” said Dan Schawbel, founder of

“Personalised employee career development programmes, accessible tools and tracking systems and a focus on redefining and re-engaging leadership – at all levels – will help deliver on the innovation and growth that businesses require.”

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