One-Third of Employers Say Their Talent Pipeline is Weak

Press Release

WOODCLIFF LAKE, NEW JERSEY – March 11, 2015 – A new US study of nearly 400 employers by Lee Hecht Harrison, a global talent mobility consulting firm, has identified that 33% of employers perceive their talent pipeline to be poor or non-existent. Only 4% reported their talent pipeline to be excellent.


The reality is that few organizations are confident about their internal talent development efforts or their ability to fill key skills gaps.

Kristen Leverone SVP, Global Talent Development Practice


Looking ahead our talent pipeline is:

Excellent 4% 
Good 58%
Poor 30%
Non-existent 3%
Don't know 5%

“The reality is that few organizations are confident about their internal talent development efforts or their ability to fill key skills gaps,” said Kristen Leverone, Senior Vice President for Lee Hecht Harrison’s Global Talent Development Practice. “It is increasingly difficult to find and recruit good people and this can vary significantly by geography, level, industry and skills. Building bench strength is a challenge.” 

This same study found that 69% of employers are planning to develop talent internally in the coming year, said Leverone. “Organizations need a concerted effort to build up the talent they have, versus buying new talent from the open market, which can be both expensive and potentially perceived as negative by current employees.” 

“Employees need to know about opportunities for career advancement— how they can continue to learn and grow to meet the changing needs of the organization,” advised Leverone. “This requires regular coaching conversations between managers and employees related to the employee’s performance, development and career. It was encouraging to learn that 51% of respondents in our study said they plan to increase the amount of time that managers spend with employees to identify career options within the organization.” 

Managers currently conduct career conversations with employees through:
(Respondents selected all that apply)

Annual performance reviews 87% 
Ongoing informal conversations 56%
In-the-moment feedback 42%
Regular formal conversations 30%
Internal networking 16%
Other 6%

Note: ‘Other’ included talent reviews, employee initiated conversations quarterly performance conversations, 360 degree feedback assessments, stay interviews and individual development plans.

Leverone stated that the workforce is growing restless. “Increasingly disengaged in their current roles, employees are poised to change jobs in hopes of moving their careers in more rewarding directions. They’re seeking new challenges and greater meaning. To retain high value employees, managers must step up and provide employees opportunities to grow in their roles and demonstrate a commitment to internal talent mobility. Without a plan or strategy for retention and development, organizations may lack the skills needed to fill key roles and face talent gaps that are becoming increasingly difficult to close.”

About the Study

Lee Hecht Harrison surveyed 374 human resource, talent management and line leaders in the United States who held titles of manager and above. The online survey was open from January 20 to 30, 2015. Over 20 industries were represented.

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