Survey highlights vital need for succession planning after 31% of executives polled say it would take a year to replace them

August 17th 2015 | Posted by Phil Scott

IIC Partners conducted an online survey with just under 1,300 leading executives in 18 different industries, from a variety of countries around the globe. The survey was focussed on succession planning and the majority of respondents work in the public and private sectors, the rest made up of not-for-profit executives and those working in family-owned firms.

The results of the survey are certainly eye-opening, with a significant 42% of the senior executives polled stating that the organisations they work for do not have a succession plan in place. 16% believe that their employers would require between 1 and 3 years to find a successor for them. This is compared to 31% of the executives who stated that they could be replaced within twelve months, and 20% saying their respective organisations would be able to replace them immediately.

Judging by the results of this IIC Partners survey, it means that 80% of employers potentially have inadequate succession plans in place and will suffer as a result, losing functional focus whilst they conduct their search for a replacement executive. IIC Partners’ Chairman Paul Dinte echoes this, saying “The findings of this survey point to a gap in succession planning at many companies. It is one thing to have a written succession plan, but quite another to be prepared for the departure of a C-level executive.”

Not-for-profit organisations stated that they were the least prepared for the departure of a senior executive, with 68% of respondents from the sector admitting that they would be seriously affected. Over two-thirds of firms in the pharmaceuticals and professional services sectors commented that the loss of a C-suite executive would leave them in a difficult position. Just over half of small businesses said they would be adversely affected, whereas almost all [94%] of the family-owned companies who took part believed the effects on their business would be substantial.

16% of the executives polled believed that the departure of one senior leader would result in the rapid departure of another, and 14% felt it would result in lost revenue for their organisation. These statistics reinforce the importance of addressing succession planning with greater preparedness, as part of an organisation’s executive recruitment strategy.