Facts & Insights

Corporate Lifespan

  • Of the Top 100 List of American corporations in 1917, only 16 remain in existence today. (Robert Gandossy, The Journal of Business Strategy, 2003)
  • The average life expectancy of a Fortune 500 company is just 40-50 years – and shrinking. (Robert Gandossy, The Journal of Business Strategy, 2003)


  • In their survey of 1,290 employees, 64% of employees stated that top management doesn't initiate programs to reduce turnover. (Kepner-Tregoe)
  • 40% of employees felt that increased salaries and financial rewards were ineffective in reducing turnover. (Kepner-Tregoe)
  • 86.1% of respondents feel that, compared to a few years ago, the urgency to develop leaders in their organization has increased. (Watson Wyatt)
  • A study conducted by Yankelovich found a near-universal disgust with the quality of all types of leadership in America. 73% said leaders are out of touch with the average person.
  • 67% of respondents felt strong leadership was lacking in their companies during the recession (SHRM Survey 2009)
  • 61% of respondents felt their company's leadership is not well-prepared for an economic recovery (SHRM Survey 2009)
  • The percentage of employees agreeing top management provides a clear sense of direction dropped to 63% in the first quarter of 2009 from 71% in the fourth quarter of 2008. (Towers Perrin, May 2009)
  • The percentage of employees agreeing that top management provides effective leadership declined to 50% in the first Quarter of 2009 from 56% at the end of 2008. (Towers Perrin, May 2009)
  • 92% of managers say they're doing an "excellent" job managing employees. Only 67% of workers agree. (Rasmussen Reports LLC for Hudson, October 2006)
  • 69% of business leaders say it's important to have a mentor. (Grant Thornton, November 2005)
  • Only 69% of employees agree that they clearly understand their company's broad goals, down a striking 10% from the fourth quarter of 2008. (Towers Perrin, May 2009)
  • 69% of business leaders say it's important to have a mentor.
  • 75% of executives say good physical fitness is critical for career success at the executive level.
  • 67% of CEOs agreed HR should play a leadership role in improving the organization's speed and agility. 91% of HR leaders agreed it should. (Robert Gandossy, The Journal of Business Strategy, 2003 – reporting from Hewitt survey)
  • Just 39% of CEOs and 45% of HR leaders report that HR is already playing the role of improving speed and agility in their organizations. (Robert Gandossy, The Journal of Business Strategy, 2003 – reporting from Hewitt survey)
  • 74% of employees agree their company's structure facilitates efficient operations, up from 66% in the last quarter of 2008 and 58% in the first quarter of 2008, suggesting the latest rounds of restructuring have been done thoughtfully and in a manner that doesn't automatically demand doing more with less. (Towers Perrin, May 2009)
  • 75% of executives say good physical fitness is critical for career success at the executive level. (TheLadders.com, November 2005)
  • 33% of executive's time is spent responding to crises or problems. (The Creative Group, July 2005.

Engagement and Performance

  • Watson Wyatt's research shows that companies where engagement is high produce as much with six workers as their competitors do with seven.
  • Watson Wyatt's Paul Platten says the primary reason some companies struggle to attract and retain critical-skill and top-performing employees is because they haven't adopted a long-term talent management strategy that allows them to stay in front of the competition.
  • According to the Watson Wyatt survey findings, highly engaged employees are almost 80 percent more likely to be top performers. They also miss 20 percent fewer days of work and about three-quarters of them exceed or far exceed expectations in their most recent performance review. Additionally, highly engaged workers tend to be more resilient to and supportive of organizational change initiatives.
  • 66% of business leaders say they are more aggressively educating employees on their role in delivering on the value proposition.
  • 93% of employees say that working with a low performer has decreased their productivity (Leadership IQ, June 2006)
  • 30% of executives say motivating their employees is their toughest challenge (The Creative Group, September 2006)
  • 85% of employees' morale sharply decreases after the first 6 months on the job. (Sirota Survey Intelligence, June 2006)
  • Employees are 15 times more enthusiastic when equity, achievement and camaraderie are all present in the workplace. (Sirota Survey Intelligence, June 2006)
  • 71% of workers say they have no desire to become boss at their workplace. (Office Team, June 2006)
  • 31% of managers say if they could have one wish at work, it would be to develop a new skill. (Accountemps, December 2006)
  • The number of workers who want positions with greater responsibility in the workplace decreased by 19% within the past 10 years. (Families and Work Institute, October 2005)
  • The top 5 reasons why new hires fail: 26% coachability; 23% emotional intelligence; 17% motivation; 15% temperament; 11% technical competence. (Leadership IQ, September 2005)
  • In a Hewitt engagement study, 28% indicate that one out of two workers worldwide is currently disengaged, 28% of workers are actively in the job market, and 40% of workers would like to be employed somewhere else within one year. (Hewitt, 2008, Next-Generation Talent Management)
  • Nearly 40% of employees experience so much stress over personal finances that productivity suffers. Workers can waste more than 20 hours of company time per month thinking about personal finances. (Debt-Free America, October 2006).
  • 32% of adult US workers listen to music at work on an MP3 player or similar devices. 79% say it improves their job satisfaction and/or productivity. (Harris Interactive, September 2006)
  • 66% of office workers say they have some physical problems as a result of job-related stress or exertion (Swingline Workspace Tools, November 2006)


  • In the US alone, the next decade is set to see the retirement of some 75 million workers – including 50 per cent of the CEOs of major organizations. The available talent to replace them will need to be picked from the next generation of just 45 million. (Hay Group)
  • 49% of CEOs are concerned that a shortage of qualified workers could limit the growth of their company in the year ahead (PricewaterhouseCoopers, September 2006)
  • 70% of 21 year-old Generation Y Americans are in the workforce. (Hewitt, 2008, Next-Generation Talent Management)
  • In the United States, workers are staying on the job for an average of 15 years beyond age 55. Peter Schwartz, Inevitable Surprises, Gotham Books 2003, reported by Hewitt)
  • 80% of US Boomer workers expect to keep working past age 65. (Paul Temple, "No Retirement for Boomers," Workforce, July 2001, reported by Hewitt)
  • Half of new workers in the United States in the past 10 years were Hispanics. (Brian Grow, "Hispanic Nation", BusinessWeek Online, March 15, 2004, reported by Hewitt)
  • By 2025, close to 40% of US workers will be Hispanic, African American, or Asian American. ("Meeting the Challenges of Tomorrow's Workforce," Supplement to Chief Executive Magazine August/September 2002, reported by Hewitt)
  • By 2015, women will make up 48% of the US workforce. ("Meeting the Challenges of Tomorrow's Workforce," Supplement to Chief Executive Magazine August/September 2002, reported by Hewitt)
  • Today, only 4% of organizations have workers who are age 60 and over. (Hewitt, 2008, Next-Generation Talent Management)
  • By 2010 there will be 168 million skilled jobs in the United States and only 158 million workers capable of performing them, according to US Bureau of Labor Statistics. (RSM McGladery 2009)
  • 54% of workers have five or fewer years of service. (Hewitt, 2008, Next-Generation Talent Management)
  • Manufacturing, electronics and transportation are three-fourths male, while health care is 80% female. (Hewitt, 2008, Next-Generation Talent Management)
  • 60% of organizations don't account for workforce aging in their long term business plans (Dychwald, Erickson and Morrison, It's Time to Retire Retirement Harvard Business Review March 1, 2004, reported by Hewitt)
  • In the United States there will be 10 million more jobs than workers by the year 2010. (Hewitt, 2008, Next-Generation Talent Management)
  • In the United States there will be a demand for more than 30 million new college-educated workers in the next 10 years while only 23 million new US college graduates are expected. (Hewitt, 2008, Next-Generation Talent Management)


  • To recoup the cost of losing just one crew member, a fast food restaurant must sell 7,613 children's combo meals at $2.50 each. (Sibson Consulting)
  • A typical information technology company incurs a cost of $34,100 for each lost worker. (Sibson Consulting)
  • To recoup the cost of losing just one sales clerk, a clothing store must sell almost 3,000 pairs of khakis at $35. (Sibson Consulting)
  • 46% of new hires leave their jobs within the first year (eBullpen, September 2006)
  • 63% of those who do not feel treated with respect intend to leave within 2 years. (Sirota Survey Intelligence, July 2006)
  • 87% of employees say that working with a low performer has made them want to change jobs. (Leadership IQ, June 2006)
  • 81% of senior executives and managers said that recruiting new employees is more difficult than retaining valued employees. (NFI Research, May 2006)
  • 43% of 26-39-year-olds expect to leave their job within three years; 39% see no opportunity for advancement at their present job. (University of Phoenix, November 2005)
  • The average Gen-X worker in his 20s stays at each job for only 1.1 year. (Researchers Charlotte and Laura Shelton, October 2005)
  • Different studies come up with different costs of turnover, but they range from $7,000-$9,000 to replace an hourly low-wage employee and up to $45,000 to replace a mid-level salaried employee. (Vickie Adair, Media A-Team)
  • Some estimates on the cost of replacing the average employee are over $125,000. (Vickie Adair, Media A-Team)
  • Over 70% of all employees respond to competitors' job offers during work hours. (Retensa.com 2009)
  • Voluntary resignations are at the highest level in over 20 years. (Retensa.com 2009)
  • Nearly 50% of all middle managers are either currently looking for another job or plan to do so (Retensa.com 2009)
  • 53% of senior level executives say they are dissatisfied with their current job. 72% are planning to leave within the next 6 months. (ExecuNet, April 2006)
  • The Saratoga Institute and Hewitt Associates estimate the productivity cost of replacing employees can cost 1 to 2.5 times the salary of the job opening. (Vickie Adair, Media A-Team)
  • 44% of HR professionals stated that their companies did not provide career transition services for separated employees and as a result, they are concerned about their employer's commitment to the workforce (SHRM Survey 2009)
  • 33% of management and 43% of non-management employees think their companies are not doing enough to deal with poor performers (Sirota Survey Intelligence, July 2006)
  • 70% of job seekers said they would prefer working for a medium or small employer compared to a large company. (CollegeGrad.com., February 2006)
  • 40% of employers worldwide are having difficulty filling positions due to the lack of suitable talent available in their markets. (Manpower, Inc. February 2006)
  • 42.7% of resumes contained one or more significant inaccuracies. (ResumeDoctor.com, February 2006)
  • During the last 40 years, global migration of less-skilled and highly skilled workers has doubled (Susan Martin, Heavy Traffic, The Brookings Review, Fall 2001, reported by Hewitt)
  • Surveys show that the number of jobs moved offshore is increasing to an average of 25% and by the end of the decade this number will grow to 40% to 40%. (Hewitt, 2008, Next-Generation Talent Management)

Change Management

  • In a recent Bain survey, 70% of the companies said their change management initiatives did not deliver the expected results. That success rate was unchanged from similar surveys they conducted in the 1980s and 1990s. And the environment for change is only getting more complex.

Talent Management

  • 40% reported a decrease in their company's investment in the development of key talent during the recent economic downturn (SHRM Survey 2009)
  • Less than one-third of employers are adjusting their talent management policies and practices to the aging of their workforces (Jessica Collison, SHRM Older Workers Survey, 2003; reported by Hewitt)


  • 77% agree their company is highly regarded by customers, up from 73% the prior year, suggesting employees recognize the efforts their companies are making to connect with the marketplace in this tough economy. (Towers Perrin, May 2009)

Respondents to Harris Interactive survey question asking how corporate America's reputation had changed over the previous 2 years (late 2002):

  • Declined a lot: 48%
  • Declined a little: 31%
  • Stayed the same: 14%
  • Improved a little: 6%
  • Improved a lot: 1%

Burson-Marsteller 2003 survey asking business influencers about the expected length of time to repair a damaged reputation:

  • CEO: 3.51 years
  • Other senior executives: 3.81 years
  • Wall Street analysts and institutional investors: 3.86 years
  • Business media representatives: 2.96 years
  • Government officials: 3.72 years
  • Board members: 3.55 years
  • Average: 3.65 years

Benefits and Education

  • 84% of college students say a strong health plan is more important than base salary, up from 38% last year. (Universum Communications, May 2006)
  • 53% of workers say their employers are very supportive of their efforts to achieve work/life balance. (Office team, March 2006)
  • 71% of human resources managers say businesses are embracing formal coaching as an employee development method. (SHRM, April 2006)
  • Roughly 50% of CFOs say their organization doesn't reimburse staff for the continuing education units required to maintain their professional certifications. (Robert Hall Finance & Accounting, April 2006)
  • The number of employers with no employees working from home is currently predicted to be (only) 20%, down from 46% 3 years ago. (Hewitt, 2008, Next-Generation Talent Management)
  • 27.5% of full-time workers had a flexible schedule, up from 12.4% 20 years ago. (Bureau of Labor Statistics, July 2006)
  • Working caregivers cost employers $33.6 billion each year in lost productivity. (MetLife Mature Market Institute, July 2006)
  • Only 55% of workers in the first quarter of 2009 agreed that they could balance work and personal responsibilities, down from 62% in the final quarter of 2008. (Towers Perrin, May 2009)