Global Research Finds Lack of Alignment in Leadership and Talent Jeopardises Post-Pandemic Growth

Boyden reveals strong confidence in growth potential among business leaders is not matched by confidence in having the right talent to align to strategy, with different skills needed on the board

Global Organisational and Talent Confidence Charts

Global Organisational and Talent Confidence Charts

NEW YORK, July 07, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Boyden, a premier leadership and talent advisory firm with more than 75 offices in over 45 countries, reports on its latest talent research, revealing a lack of alignment in talent to strategy, the need for a different skills matrix on the board, and lack of alignment across the leadership team.

The global study, Talent-led transformation in a post-pandemic world: how can global business leaders deliver on ambitions of growth and reinvention? explores the business outlook among CEOs, boards and other senior leaders, and talent trends, priorities and investment in the wake of the pandemic through 2022.

“Boyden has a long-term commitment to anticipating the trends and issues that will affect our global clients,” commented Trina D. Gordon, President & CEO of Boyden. “While business leaders are seeing strong indicators of recovery, alignment between talent requirements and the suite of leadership skills that will drive growth will be imperative to sustainable success. Leadership needs have changed in this new global environment, from C-suite to the boardroom. It is important that organizations synchronize their leadership requirements to strategies that reflect the evolved global landscape.”

Study findings show that while 77 percent of respondents are extremely confident or confident in their organisation’s growth potential, just 47 percent are extremely confident or confident in having the right talent to align to strategy. For industrial and consumer companies, this drops to 42 percent and 41 percent respectively. Half of all respondents describe their business approach in 2022 as one of growth or expansion mode and just over a quarter, 26 percent, as a learning or transformation opportunity; this bullish approach versus lack of talent alignment jeopardises post-pandemic growth and reinvention.

This lack of alignment goes up to board level, with 52 percent of respondents saying that a different mix of skills is needed on the board. Despite this, only 38 percent of respondents are likely to conduct a board assessment review over the next two years, although the figure is higher, at 45 percent, in North and South America.

Findings show that respondents are reinventing talent: 74 percent are extremely likely or likely to invest in leadership development for high potentials; 66 percent to hire new leadership talent; and 65 percent to redeploy or retrain existing people. In our disrupted work environment, 51 percent are considering new approaches to measuring performance; the top driver is to tie culture and behaviours to business objectives.

Priorities in hiring new leadership talent reveals lack of alignment across the leadership team, particularly around:

  • Diversity: 57 percent of marketing and 47 percent of HR leaders think it is extremely likely or likely that their organisation will hire talent into diversity roles, compared with only 35 percent of CEOs;
  • Sustainability: 42 percent of marketing leaders think it is extremely likely or likely that their organisation will hire talent into sustainability roles, compared with 31 percent of CEOs;
  • Supply chain: 37 percent of finance leaders think it is extremely likely or likely that their organisation will hire talent into supply chain roles compared with 29 percent of CEOs.

Over the next 12 months, 69 percent of respondents expect ‘more emphasis on leadership assessment/development,’ 50 percent expect ‘executive talent retention challenges’ and 49 percent ‘executive recruitment challenges’.

In attracting leadership talent, respondents consider the top two drivers to be ‘a strong overall company reputation’ (57 percent) and ‘a purpose-driven organisation’ (52 percent), followed by ‘workplace of the future’ with hybrid work arrangements (38 percent).

About the research

This research was conducted in Q2 2021 among senior executives worldwide. A total of 528 complete responses comprise 43 percent from Europe, 35 percent from the Americas, and 18 percent from Asia/Pacific. Respondents include 37 percent board/president/CEOs, 23 percent division or country heads, 22 percent HR leaders, with a remainder across finance, operations, marketing and technology.

Industrial sector and consumer & retail each account for 23 percent of responses, followed by 14 percent within professional services, 12 percent from technology/media/telecoms, 11 percent from financial services, and 10 percent from healthcare & life sciences. The remainder are from private equity, social impact (non-profit/government), and academic sectors. By organisation, 27 percent are from publicly quoted, 35 percent from private/independent, 20 percent from private/family-owned, with the remainder from social enterprise, start-up and private equity backed businesses.

About Boyden

Boyden is a premier leadership and talent advisory firm with more than 75 offices in over 45 countries. Our global reach enables us to serve client needs anywhere they conduct business. We connect great companies with great leaders through executive search, interim management and leadership consulting solutions. Boyden is ranked amongst the top companies on Forbes’ Americas Best Executive Recruiting Firms for 2021. For further information, visit


Chris Swee
Global Head of Marketing
T: +1 914 747 0172
Joanna Goncalves
Global Senior Director of Marketing
T: +1 416 214 4208

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at