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

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

The research points out that UK businesses are facing significant challenges in retaining talent. In a challenging labor market, 69% of UK leaders cited the availability of key talent/skills as the most pressing threat (from a list of 20 threats) to organizational health over the next 12-18 months. Geopolitical instability (50%) and uncertain economic growth (46%) were the next two most frequently cited threats.

Talent pressures are being felt across the entirety of an organization, and senior teams are not immune. In fact, 62% of C-suite leaders/next-generation leaders in the UK would be willing to move to a different organization for the right opportunity, possibly because 43% are not confident in the leadership succession plans at their organization.

Career advancement was cited as the top reason C-suite leaders/next-generation leaders would change employers (38%), followed by better pay (36%) and a desire to feel more valued by an organization (36%).

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, Europe, Middle East, Africa, and Asia Pacific.

“Our research makes clear the profound level of geopolitical and economic uncertainty that global business leaders have to deal with 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.”

Laura Sanderson, Russell Reynolds Associates UK Country Manager adds: “Climate change, diversity and social justice have transformed the agenda of the board and executive leadership teams over the last five years. Today’s leaders need to combine financial and non-financial targets within a single strategy and tell a convincing story about the values of their business to a wide range of stakeholders. However, many boardrooms still lack the necessary skills, knowledge, and experience to do this. That’s why identifying and developing the next generation of leaders with these skills is so critical. With so many looking to leave their businesses, it's more important than ever to provide next generation leaders with a clear pathway to the top.”

Key Stats

69% of UK leaders cited talent availability as the biggest issue for their organization

58% of UK executives do not think their organization’s leadership is prepared to face the threat of talent and skills availability

62% of UK C-suite/next-gen leaders would move to another organization for the right opportunity

43% of UK C-suite/next-gen leaders do not believe that their organization’s senior leadership team has an effective leadership strategy for C-suite successions

30% of UK leaders said the return to work/hybrid work implementation is one of the biggest issues facing their organization over the next 12-18 months


Every year, Russell Reynolds Associates administers The Global Leadership Monitor, an annual survey of executives and non-executive directors, which tracks key threats to organizational health and leadership preparedness to face them, as well as indicators of confidence in leadership, and leaders' engagement and career aspirations.

In March 2022, we surveyed 1,590 business leaders, who represent 46 countries in Africa, Asia, Americas, Europe, Middle East and Oceania. 195 business leaders replied from the UK.

All data has been weighted by GDP to create a more representative lens on share of business contribution from each market. Next-Generation executives are defined as those who are at an executive role level below the CEO and C-suite leaders.

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