Who would want to be CEO?

Fewer people want the top job.

1 min read

Who would want to be a CEO? Fewer and fewer of us, apparently.

A few years ago some interesting data started emerging showing that the proportion of senior leaders who did not want promotion to the top table was increasing. Publically they would say, “yes of course I want it”, but deep down they felt far more ambivalent and did not really aspire to it. The reason for this increase is not certain, but most commentators are putting their bets on it being something to do with top jobs being associated with increasingly less work-life balance and more risk in terms of public scrutiny and liability.

Now some new research reported by the US-based SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management) has added to this finding. When over 500 executives were asked “Do you want to be CEO?,” approximately one-third (31 percent) either didn’t want the job or were ambivalent about becoming their organization’s top executive.

What this means for firms is that succession planning is getting harder as the pool of available, qualified people becomes smaller. And it also accounts for the recent rise in interest in the concept of Psychological Capital, and the trend we have seen in businesses actively trying to support and develop the levels of resilience in their senior leaders. Just being good at what you do is not enough anymore. You need to be able to sustain it.

© Nik Kinley, 2024

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