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C-suite executives in every industry have faced enormous personal and professional challenges in the past few years. They wrestled with steering their organizations through a pandemic, saw employees resign in record numbers, and in some cases, have watched company share values plummet. And, like many, have seen their own investment portfolios and mental health decline.
Now, business leaders face the headwinds of inflation, hiked interest rates, a likely recession, and an ongoing talent shortage with no easy fix. It’s no wonder they have paused to say, “is this stress worth it?” and have considered the answer may be “no.”
Deloitte surveyed 2,100 C-suite leaders and employees in February 2022 and found that 70% of high-level executives are giving serious thought to quitting their jobs. In their September 2022 report, Challenger, Gray & Christmas (an outplacement and executive coaching firm) showed 969 CEOs left the corner office from January through September 2022, down just 2% from the same time in 2021 (during the peak of the pandemic).
These are sobering statistics. Companies are at a vulnerable inflection point where they need steadfast hands on the wheel to continue navigating choppy waters.
The news media rightly covers retention strategies for workers overall, including meeting the need for mental health access. However, not much attention is paid to retaining high-level executives experiencing serious leadership challenges and burnout.
C-suite changes are costly, particularly if unexpected or there is no succession plan. As is widely known, replacing an employee can cost anywhere from 50% to 200% of that employee’s compensation. For key executives, that total cost can be 300% or more when factoring in executive placement firms, leadership burdens being put on other executives, public or private company stock devaluation, and loss of disenchanted customers and talent.
If there is an upside to the C-suite “Great Resignation,” it’s that women have moved into many of those offices. According to the World Economic Forum, “as of March , there were 74 female CEOs employed at America's 500 highest-grossing companies, up from 41 in June of 2021 and only 7 in 2002.” As companies experience more shareholder and employee pressure to “walk the walk” of Diversity, Equality & Inclusion efforts, we should see the C-suite reflect that demand.
Ask your Risk Strategies representative for our companion whitepaper, Executive Retention Strategies to Consider Among the Great Resignation.
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