Baby boomers are back

Confidence among chief executives is booming. But stresses as a result of the great economic boom – and new technology – are putting enormous pressure on workers.

Chief executives are naming workload and understaffing as their biggest issue, says Mike O’Neill from The Executive Connection.

A TEC report from almost 200 chief executives of mid-size firms shows that while technology allows staff to be connected 24/7, it is adding to stress. “About 10% now say that technology is the greatest cause of stress in the workforce,” O’Neill says.

Eight top chief executive trends

1: Women are disappearing from management teams.

Fifteen per cent of chief executives did not have a woman reporting to the chief executive, which is up from 12% two years ago.

O’Neill says one reason could be that the Gen-Xs who are in their 30s are not returning to senior positions after having children.

Interestingly, female chief executives are likely to have younger management teams.

2: Competitive pressures are driving up salaries.

External industry salary levels are responsible for 31% of the decisions to increase wages. Only half the time is individual performance the key factor for wage rises.

3: Holding people accountable.

Accountability is the biggest people management issue cited by 30%, followed by interpersonal communication at 22%.

4: The people shortage is forcing companies to change policies.

There was a big increase in the number of weeks leave that can be carried forward – 60% allowing four weeks or more to be carried forward, up from 51% in past surveys.

About 46% of chief executives have requests from employees to work remotely, up from 29% in 2005.

5: Chief executives turn to contractors

There was a 35% increase in the use of contractors or consultants used instead of hiring full or part time staff. Almost a quarter have done this to achieve cost savings and flexibility while 14% did so because they could not find the right staff.

6: The baby boomers are back

The baby boomers are grabbing control of the executive suite, with 40% of management teams between 44-60 years old. “With the skills shortage, age is no longer an issue when recruiting,” O’Neill says.

7: AWAs are big in Perth

About 65% of chief executives surveyed say they do not have AWAs. Only 15% report that more than 75% of staff are on AWAs. But in Perth only 38% do not have AWAs in place.

8: More talk

A huge amount, 80%, of chief executives believe improving culture and communication is the best way to address conflict between staff.

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