BusinessWeek.com has an article titled Today’s Top 10 Talent-Management Challenges that provides some interesting tidbits from 3 different talent managers. One topic leaped off the screen:
6. Stemming the exodus of Gen X’ers from corporate life. A big threat in many firms today is the exodus of mid-career talent—people in whom the organization has invested heavily and in whom it has pinned it hopes for future leadership. For example, developing talent management practices and programs calibrated to leverage technology and create greater work/life balance has been a priority for Mercer over recent years.
The sheer smallness of my generation creates pockets of problems with the marketplace. This particular problem is one with which I was not familiar. However, I can attest to the fact that work/life balance is greatly valued among my Gen X friends. This value has led many of them to pass on management positions in favor of continuing to excel in their current positions.
Now combine the aforementioned quote with this excerpt (my emphasis):
3. Developing a robust leadership pipeline. I believe one of the biggest potential threats to many corporations is a lack of a robust talent pool from which to select future leaders. This is in part a numbers issue—the Gen X cohort is small and therefore, as I like to say, precious. But it’s also an interest issue—many members of Gen X are simply not particularly excited about being considered for these roles. There was wide agreement among the panelists that a lack of individuals ready to move into senior client manager and leadership roles is a critical challenge.
Therein lies the challenge – how to develop leaders from a small (relatively speaking) group. One possibility is that Gen Y will leapfrog Gen X and take those leadership positions at a young age. I know this possibility does not sit well with me, but there may be no other solution.