The 4 Top CEO Talent Concerns for 2016

VisionLink works with CEOs of private businesses all over the United States (and some outside those boundaries). Our work focuses on aligning pay with the organization's vision, business model and strategy. As a result, we develop a pretty good sense for what CEOs and other enterprise leaders are thinking about the future of their companies.  What we've heard,  observed and experienced is validated by recent empirical studies. For example, PwC’s 18th Annual Global CEO Survey revealed these chief executive talent, recruiting and retention concerns in its own research commentary:

The CEO talent concerns for 2016 suggest that developing an effective value proposition is more critical than ever.


One of the biggest headaches for CEOs is making sure that the organization has the right people to cope with what lies ahead. There’s the basic question of planning for the skills that are needed now and in the future: Which roles will be automated? What new roles will be needed to manage and run emerging technology? What skills should the company be looking for, and training their people for? Where will we find the people we need?

But more importantly, CEOs need to be sure that the business is fit to react quickly to whatever the future may throw at it – and that means filling it with adaptable, creative people, working in a culture where energy fizzes and ideas spark into life. If they can’t be found, they must be created.

One of PwC’s prior year studies included these findings:

  • Only a small percentage (12% in 2012) of CEOs are finding it easier to hire today.
  • A quarter reported being unable to pursue a market opportunity or being forced to cancel or delay strategic initiatives because of talent challenges.
  • A third feared they would not be able to innovate effectively going forward because of skill shortages.
  • More CEOs planned on changing their talent management strategies in the subsequent year than adjusting approaches to risk or capital investment—or any other corporate strategies.
  • Over two-thirds of those surveyed wished they could spend even more time than they were focused on developing the leadership of their business and their talent pipeline.

The 4 Concerns

In short, talent issues represent a high profile concern to those leading businesses today. We can distill these issues into four key areas of concern.

  1. How to find and effectively compete for premier talent. Although unemployment has been high for a number of years, the pool of skilled individuals who can be catalysts within an organization has been shrinking. Knowledge workers are at a premium and there is heavy competition to identify and attract them.
  2. How to keep key producers from leaving. A recent com study indicated that retention is one of the biggest issues businesses are grappling with in their efforts to sustain a healthy growth trajectory. The survey also revealed that pay is the number one reason people are going to other employers.
  3. How to adjust to the shift from a baby boomer to millennial talent pool. In recent years, the players on the business playing field have shifted. Baby boomers are retiring and millennials are the majority generation within the global workforce. This presents unique opportunities for organizations that will adjust to the changing landscape, particularly as it relates to finding talent that can manage and run emerging technologies—a clear need the PwC study identified. The challenge for most organizations is how to make the cultural, management and compensation adjustments necessary to the changing demographics of the people they employ.
  4. How to pay millennials. The shift from baby boomers to millennials as the predominant class of employees in their organizations has left most business leaders befuddled about compensation issues. Suddenly, the old standards and approaches don’t seem to apply anymore and too many CEOs end up surrendering to popular myths about millennials to assuage their anxiety and postpose taking action on an effective rewards approach. Unfortunately, that tactic is leaving them vulnerable to losing the talent wars and, as a result, forgoing their growth ambitions.

What these four CEO talent concerns tell us is that building the right value proposition is more critical than ever.  It also suggests that a “one size fits all” approach will fail and that the pay landscape will be a fluid one for the foreseeable future. If businesses are going to succeed in the talent arena, they will need to get comfortable with continuous change and be able to develop a philosophy, structure and strategy that effectively address the compensation evolution associated with the business age in which we find ourselves.

In short, stay tuned and pay close attention to what’s being written here and elsewhere about the strategic role pay will need to play in driving the growth you seek.

To dive deeper into the demographic shift occurring in the workplace and how your value proposition should address it, tune into our upcoming free webinar, How to Pay Millennials.

Free Webinar! How to Pay Millennials Register Now!


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