Headlines: June 8th, 2011

Spending cuts are bringing radical change across the public sector and creating a need for new leadership roles and workforce capabilities. But a survey reveals a lack of confidence in senior leaders to manage the change.

Research from global management consultancy Hay Group, has revealed that a leadership crisis threatens public sector reform drive. As well as a vote of no confidence in top leadership, there is a failure to develop new leadership roles and capabilities and talent management is being neglected in the cost cutting climate.

The study, Mind the talent gap: dealing with the deficit, was conducted with 131 public sector leaders ranging from board and executive level to middle management.

Jody Goldsworthy, associate director at Hay Group, comments: “The report raises concerns over whether public sector leaders can steer their organisations through unprecedented reform, and whether leaders are being developed for the sector’s future needs.

She added “Many organisations are overlooking the leadership and workforce development strategies crucial to success in a changed landscape. These need to be reviewed as a matter of urgency.”

The report reveals a crisis of confidence in public sector leaders’ ability to effectively manage the impact of cuts and deliver on future strategies.

Against a backdrop of comprehensive reform, a majority (56 per cent) of public sector respondents do not believe their senior leaders have the skills required to manage current change.

The concern is even more acute when looking to the future. Three fifths (60 per cent) fear that their leadership population does not possess the right skills and capabilities to successfully meet future challenges.

Talent management is not keeping pace with developments. Almost three quarters (73 per cent) of organisations have not renewed their talent management strategy or systematically addressed how to identify and retain high potentials.

The report also highlights a failure to build new capability requirements into future workforce plans. A significant majority (62 per cent) are failing to assess people based on new capabilities required to meet the needs of reform. Over two thirds (68 per cent) have not incorporated these new capabilities into their recruitment plans.