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Belinda White
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Media Release

All talk and no action leaves a gap in ANZ leadership ranks: Hudson survey

Research shows almost 1 in 2 companies operating with no leadership map

Wednesday 4 November, 2015 - Australasian companies face a looming leadership gap, with research suggesting that almost half are operating without a leadership strategy in place.

Hudson surveyed over 100 human resources leaders and found that while 92% agree that leadership is important/very important to business success, only 54% have a clearly articulated leadership strategy in place. Encouragingly however, of those without a plan, 53% plan to create one in the next six months.

This reflects leadership as a key focus, with HR leaders saying Leadership Development was their top priority for 2015, and will be in the year ahead.

Simon Moylan, head of Talent Management at Hudson, said the results suggest there is a disconnect between intention and action.

“Every organisation needs a process for assessing the leadership team’s strengths, weaknesses and skills gaps, which then maps to the business strategy. It’s impossible to do this successfully without a plan – it’s like heading off on a road trip without a map.”

Blueprint for leadership unclear

The survey also found around 1 in 3 organisations are struggling to evaluate their leadership: 37% don’t have processes in place to assess current leadership capability while 32% lack a capability framework to describe good leadership.

“Not every business needs the same kind of leaders, but a sound leadership strategy will look at where the business is now, where it’s heading, and the kinds of leadership traits required to get it there,” Mr Moylan said.

Hudson points to shrinking CEO tenures as a sign that companies still have blindspots around leadership development.

“All is not well at the leadership table right now. This year we’ve seen early and unexpected exits from top jobs at some of the largest companies, from supermarkets to insurers. There are complex reasons behind these decisions, but the momentum suggests that some companies are failing to match the leaders they hire to the business they are running today and tomorrow.”

Leadership in context

Hudson suggests that in a rapidly changing business environment, leadership needs to be responsive.

“Good leadership is contextual and what makes a good leader in one situation may not work in another. We only need to look at Tony Abbott to see that whilst his skills may have been right for Opposition, they fell short in Government. Michael Clarke was a successful captain for the Australian cricket team when it was on top, but arguably wasn’t right for the job when the team came under pressure.

“That doesn’t mean leaders can’t change though – if we look at Abbott’s successor, the Malcolm Turnbull of several years ago is different to the Prime Minister of today. He has worked on himself as a leader, as he recognises that even the best leaders need self-awareness, insight and coaching to grow,” Mr Moylan said.

Next generation of leaders going unnoticed

While Talent Pipeline & Succession Planning was second on the list of 2016 people priorities, the survey found a gap in this area. Almost half (46%) of organisations don’t have processes in place to identify potential leaders, and 32% don’t have a process to recruit or promote them.

“It’s more effective and costs less to build rather than buy talent, so organisations without a plan for developing high-potential staff are really missing a trick. Moreover, it creates a flight risk, as the best talent won’t stick around forever, waiting for their turn,” Mr Moylan said.

Leadership tops the people agenda

The survey asked HR leaders to rank their people priorities for 2015, and what they will be focused on in 2016.

“It’s clear that identifying, hiring and developing leaders are all an ongoing focus for HR leaders. A strategic approach and clear plan will help to ensure they succeed in setting the business up for success in these areas,” Mr Moylan said.


For print-ready graphs or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Belinda White
Honner Media
+61 2 8248 3750

About Hudson

Hudson is a global talent solutions company with expertise in leadership and specialized recruitment, recruitment process outsourcing, talent management and contracting solutions. We help our clients and candidates succeed by leveraging our expertise, deep industry and market knowledge, and proprietary assessment tools and techniques. Through relationships with millions of specialized professionals in 22 countries, we bring an unparalleled ability to match talent with opportunities by assessing, recruiting, developing and engaging the best and brightest people for our clients. We combine broad geographic presence, world-class talent solutions and a tailored, consultative approach to help businesses and professionals achieve higher performance and outstanding results. More information is available at

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