A potential successor would make four in ten (39%) managers feel uncertain about their job security, according to new research from recruitment experts Office Angels.

The study, which looked into the importance of workforce planning, surveyed over 500 UK managers to find that a quarter (24%) would feel so expendable if there was a potential successor for their job that they would have to leave the company.

The prevailing attitude neglects the value that an aspiring colleague can offer to those in more senior positions. Six in ten (59%) managers recognise that a potential successor would allow them to share their workload and provide them with someone they could discuss decisions with.

The research also found that four in ten (41%) feel that a successor could help them aim for their next move or promotion, and a third (34%) believe that a potential successor reflects well on them as an individual.

Despite making clear the benefits of having a workforce plan in place, over half (51%) of those surveyed are yet to identify a successor for themselves. A vital strand of workforce planning is succession planning and upskilling the internal talent pool.

According to Chris Moore, Office Angels: “Given the recent economic climate, it is unsurprising that business leaders do not want to think they can easily be replaced. Whilst managers acknowledge the benefits of lining up their own successor, many are reluctant to actually put a workforce plan into practice for fear of jeopardising their own job.

“However, workforce planning is important for business growth. Without an intelligent strategy in place to meet future needs, organisations risk losing essential skills, productivity and revenue for every departing employee. Promoting from within a successful team makes sense, but as a business’ needs change and evolve so too should its employees. A solid, forward looking career development plan can both ensure that your staff are upskilled but top talent is also retained – allowing managers to meet future commercial growth.

“Only a third (34%) of companies surveyed have a workforce plan in place for senior employees, and this should be extended to include the entire team. Organisations naturally lose employees – and a certain amount can sometimes reinvigorate teams – but workforce planning can respond to employee churn rate by ensuring that there are well-qualified people ready to quickly assume positions at every level. To be effective and avoid gaps in the workplace, this should be applied to everyone, not just the CEO.”