4 April 2016

Succession Planning: Towards 2020

Are you thinking about moving on or retiring within the next three to five years? Then you need to start your succession planning process now.

By 2020, 40% of today’s leaders will have reached retirement age. Most of the Baby Boomer generation will have retired, while Generation Y will make up 42% of the workforce, dominating managerial roles. [1]

Developing the internal talent pipeline

By 2020, the workforce as we know it is likely to change, with an expected one in three workers employed on a casual basis, and the average job tenure dropping to around three years. Shorter tenures are driven both from the organisational side (cyclical redundancies and decreased job security) and by Millennial professionals, who want faster career progression and opportunities to develop their skills.  

The challenge for an outgoing leader, therefore, is to build an internal talent pool of future leaders in a high-turnover environment. This means increasing your efforts to retain outstanding performers through:

  • Engaging future leaders by assigning them to projects which will give them an opportunity to develop and execute their leadership skills. 
  • Help build a clear career path that shows the future leader the benefits of staying in the organisation.
  • Challenge future leaders with broader responsibilities.
  • Personally nurturing the future leaders’ ambitions and development through coaching and mentoring. 

Identifying external leadership talent

While you concentrate on your internal succession planning, it’s important to also build an external pipeline of talent for future leadership roles. Keep in regular contact with your external network, even if you don’t plan on recruiting just now.

  • Work closely with your internal and external recruiting partners to help identify future leaders for your "bench". 
  • If there is an appetite for future growth, consider recruiting future leaders for strategic projects or change-focused roles as an interim appointment. This will give the appointee time to get to know the business drivers, build relationships with stakeholders and help with the transition to leadership role when the time comes.

Get started now

What you want to avoid is having to scramble to find a successor in your last months at your organisation. If you have a succession plan in place and a well-maintained talent pipeline, the transition will be smooth and you can concentrate on retiring in style.

For a confidential discussion on succession planning in your organisation, contact Tony Megally, General Manager of The Source on +61 3 9650 6665 or

The Source is a boutique mid to senior and executive recruitment and search consultancy with national reach specialising in the procurement market. We provide tailored contract and permanent recruitment solutions to leading organisations in the Australian market.