Worrying statistics released today has revealed that 72 per cent of organisations are operating without an active strategy in place.

This is the headline finding in a global survey of senior executives in the Life Sciences industry, carried out for Interim Management firm RSA.

A disturbing trend has emerged over the last three years which has seen talent management take a back seat, the research revealed. While 90 per cent of Life Science executives identify talent management as a key priority, almost three quarters are failing to deliver this in practice. Much of this has been put down to the continuing impact of change and sluggish economic conditions.

Respondents found leadership development the most challenging part of talent management, with 17 per cent listing it as their top concern. Companies are also becoming more demanding – 70 per cent say they require a greater range of skills now than a year ago. Furthermore, managers are looking outside the organisation for help and more than three quarters (77 per cent) used external talent management firms/consultants in 2012, with the top reason being a lack of in-house skills (55 per cent).

On a brighter note, understanding between business and the learning department is improving. While only 59 per cent of executives believe that L&D has a clear understanding of the skills the organisation will need in five years’ time, this has nearly doubled from just 24 per cent in 2010. In addition, almost eight in 10 (78 per cent) felt that &D would have a key role to play in redefining long-term resourcing needs, nine per cent more than in 2011.

Speaking about the findings, Nick Stephens, executive chairman of RSA, said: “In today’s highly competitive Life Sciences industry, a critical success factor for executives is to fully understand the talent they have within their business and how they organise and supplement it for the future.

“Our research shows that in the Life Sciences industry, the active management of high potential individuals and leadership development remain high priorities. However the continuing pressures of the recession and major market change are forcing businesses and their HR departments to focus on short-term fixes, rather than long-term strategy.”

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