There is a significant leadership shortage in industrial sectors worldwide, according to a global survey of more than 450 international c-level executives conducted by Stanton Chase International, a global retained executive search firm. More than 70%  of respondents indicated this shortage is a primary road block to corporate growth and is characterized by a need for greater honesty and integrity. Engineers, particularly those with business skills, continue to be the highest in-demand function.

There is consensus that continuous learning and project team involvement will be used to support leadership development, but these seem like status quo approaches, the analysis concludes. Other key findings show:

  • 57% indicated there’s a shift away from growth by acquisition, and towards organic growth driven by investments in core business and related core competencies. 
  • High priority investments in technology appear to be driven by goals in core competency development, customer experience, and quality/efficiency.
  • 35% of respondents see a trend toward reshoring. The primary reasons given were customer-influenced factors of quality, logistical cost and agile supply chains. There may also  be specific economic advantages to reshoring highly-engineered technical products.

“This survey reveals a shift within the global industrial sector,” said Mickey Matthews, vice-chair of global practice groups and managing director of Stanton Chase Baltimore. “It appears industry itself is changing, perhaps ultimately driven by the need to find new approaches to growth and profitability after some difficult years. The top four planned technology investments are customer relationship management, research and development, supply chain management and manufacturing robotics and automation. The survey also provided other insights related to customer experience, quality, effectiveness and efficiency, and the global regions being targeted for growth.”