A lack of structure around careers, succession planning and personal development is set to cause organisations the biggest talent headache this year, according to research from Penna Plc, the global HR Services Group.

The research, conducted amongst 100 senior Human Resource and Learning and Development professionals, found that ‘lack of opportunity’ (20 per cent) was the main reason for individuals to leave organisations over the past twelve months. And with one in five (20 per cent) businesses admitting to having no formal approach to succession planning, it’s no surprise that one in three (33 per cent) organisations have seen an increase in resignations over the past twelve months.

The research indicates that talented individuals are confident to be moving on again and that businesses are playing catch up with their career development agenda, with 42 per cent of organisations predicting increased investment in learning over the next twelve months. But the research also found that despite investment in learning, career conversations are only taking place on an annual basis (51 per cent). When those conversations are taking place, the research found that a quarter of managers (25 per cent) are not trained to be holding them.

Commenting on the findings Bev White, managing director of Career Services at Penna Plc said: “Having conversations annually is not enough for career development starved individuals that are keen on get their chosen career path back on track. If the managers holding those conversations aren’t trained either, it may be a less than productive meeting. For Generation Y and C as well, we know that frequent conversations about their career progression are desirable – so businesses need to consider how to build in more regular informal catch ups with constructive feedback.”

“There is recognition from businesses that career development initiatives must be tailored to specific groups such as graduates and women, but it’s important that a culture of development and opportunity exists organisation wide. Not only does this keep staff more engaged, but it also means that businesses see a real return on career development investment, and that their talent pipeline continues to build for their future.”