The world’s business leaders are facing market conditions which are as challenging as many can recall; only one in five CEOs believe that the global economy will improve over the coming year and 70% are committed to cutting costs. The division between markets has become more pronounced and CEOs find themselves navigating a multi-speed global marketplace where matching talent supply and demand has become a constant headache.
As if these challenges weren’t enough, CEOs must also work in an environment where trust in the world’s businesses (and their leaders) has hit an all-time low.
The need to rebuild trust through engagement, which will in turn attract and retain the best talent, set alongside the need to reduce costs still further creates a powerful dilemma for leaders. Actions to reduce or shift headcount often run counter to efforts to build enduring trust and create growth. It can be done, of course, but it requires extraordinary leadership.
In fact, it might be the leadership challenge of our times.
We conducted 1,330 interviews with CEOs in 68 countries between 5 September and 4 December 2012. In addition, 33 CEOs sat down with us near the end of 2012 for more extensive conversations. Their thoughts on the talent issues impacting their businesses are reflected in the quotes throughout our report. Visit the CEO Survey microsite >