19th Annual Global CEO Survey

Investment in people and talent remains a priority

Over the past eight years, some aspects of the UK findings have remained consistent irrespective of market dynamics. In the 2008 survey, 92% of UK CEOs highlighted the people agenda as their top priority, exhibiting a strong focus on talent that has continued ever since. Two-thirds of UK business leaders are planning to increase their organisation’s headcount in 2016, a higher proportion than their peers in any other European country and in most markets worldwide. Only CEOs in Mexico and India are planning to hire more. Just one fifth of UK business leaders expect their headcount to decrease, proportionate to the global average.

Looking at UK CEOs’ list of concerns this year, the proportion citing the availability of key skills has fallen markedly to 71% from 84% last year, putting them roughly in line with CEOs globally.

“The next generation, the new generation if you want to call it, are coming into organisations because it's not just for profitable growth.  Of course they want the company to do well, but they want us to do well from a sustainability point of view as well.  And we think that is a very important element of capturing further new talent going forward.”

Steve Foots

"We have as a company gone through the process of growing up, trying our best at guessing and best we can with the best people we could find and it’s anyone’s guess.  There is no masterstroke in growing a business.  It’s surrounding yourself with good people and a bit of luck."

Will Butler-Adams
Brompton Bicycles

Prioritising retention over acquisition

As well as hiring more people as part of their talent strategy, UK CEOs are planning to develop and retain their existing talent by improving their workplace culture and behaviours, managing their talent pipeline, and changing pay and incentives.

UK CEOs are looking to change workplace culture and behaviours, cited as a priority by 54% of UK CEOs, against 41% globally. Asked what aspects of their talent strategy they are changing to make the greatest impact on attracting, retaining and engaging the people they need to remain relevant and competitive, some 50% of UK CEOs highlight a focus on their pipeline of leaders for tomorrow. This figure is just ahead of the global average, and compares to 45% in Germany and 35% in France.

When asked, as part of the survey, what elements of their talent strategy they would like to change, comparatively few CEOs, both in the UK and elsewhere, are focusing on global mobility (5% of UK CEOs, compared to 7% globally) and predictive workforce analytics (4%, the same as the global figure) in order to remain relevant and competitive.

Contact us

Contact us

Maria Jennings
Head of UK Thought Leadership
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7804 3682

Katrina Kersey
Marketing manager
Tel: +44 (0)207 212 2279