Back to all posts
Iryna Viter

Unpacking Leadership Statistics for Today's Leaders

Wondering what the leadership landscape looks like in 2023? Enter our overview of general leadership statistics and leadership challenges.

Not everyone is made to be a leader. In fact, only 10% of people are natural leaders. For others, it's a matter of upskilling, experience, and never-ending motivation to be better at leading their pack.

Overall, the leadership world is undergoing a positive, although often slow, change. Employees are becoming more open to having leaders of different races, genders, and ages. And what is even more important, they trust them to do their best work when leading a company.

But the global leadership still has a long way to go. From lack of diversity and underrepresentation to poor skills and low empathy levels — leaders everywhere around the world have a lot to learn.

In this article, we're going to investigate the most recent statistics on leadership to see where it is standing now and where it is headed in the nearest future.

General leadership statistics

The leadership landscape is changing — a new generation is replacing an old one, technology is helping us reimagine leadership styles, while the world economy dictates its own rules for managing businesses.

A recent research found that in the USA, the median age for people in General & Operations Manager positions is 43.8.

Millennials, people who are between 27 and 42 now, have come to replace baby boomers and they have brought a lot of innovation and new democratic leadership styles with them. Yet 63% of Millennials believe their companies are not helping them develop their leadership capabilities.

There is still a significant need for leaders to develop and improve across different industries. It is crucial for increased employee engagement and overall organizational success. 83% of companies, for example, believe that leadership development should be taking place from day one of each company's life.

But 30% of companies fail to provide proper leadership development programs, leaving that self-improvement adventure in the hands of the most ambitious and hard-working managers who are willing to learn how to successfully lead a group by themselves. In fact, 59% of managers who are responsible for 1-2 employees never received any official leadership training.

When leaders do succeed at managing their team and recognizing its strengths, profits are likely to rise by up to 29%, Gallup research found.

leadership statistics infographic

Leadership challenges statistics

Being a team leader or even a company leader is no easy feat, and failure is an integral component of it. In fact, a recent study found that 50% to 70% of leaders fail within the first 18 months in their new role, whether they were hired externally or promoted within their company.

And not everyone who ends up in a managerial position actually belongs there. Gallup research found that 82% of companies had experience choosing the wrong person to take up a managerial role.

Knowing where the company or your team is headed and why is crucial for professional outputs, for getting from point A to point B. However, only 22% of people say that they feel their leader has a strong sense of vision and direction for the company.

Transparency is also an issue to address. 40% of managers believe that their leaders are very transparent, yet if you look into the masses and talk to lower-level employees, only 22% share that sentiment. And Deloitte found that 60% of companies are worried about how their employees see their transparency levels.

But in 2023, leaders will have special challenges to face.

In recent research, Zippia found that only 48% of employees believe their company's leadership is of high quality. At the same time, 79% of employees don't feel appreciated enough at work, which eventually drives them out of their positions and damages their loyalty to the company.

No wonder 78% of leaders are already focusing a lot of their time on engaging with their employees. However, understaffing is an omnipresent issue, and 77% of organizations report having leadership gaps, too.

But if there is one massive challenge leaders all over the world will be facing in 2023, it would be workplace stress and everything that stems from it.

In Japan, the country of workaholics, there is such a thing as "karoshi", or death by overwork. This overworking culture and workplace-related stress kills as many as 745,000 people by resulting in heart issues, mental disorders, and other complications.

But you don't have to go to Japan to see it — workplace-related stress is already a global issue. The WHO has already recognized burnout as an occupational phenomenon and a disease. Not to mention that 60% to 80% of workplace accidents come from stress.

Burnout rates are also recorded at an all-time high — 90% of Millennials have reported experiencing burnout at work, compared to only 85% of Gen X respondents and 80% of baby boomers. What's more, people don't take or get enough vacation time to take a break from all that stress.

Making sure that employees get that work-life balance, are able to grow within their roles, and are not exposed to excessive stress at work are going to be the main challenges for leaders to overcome.

But what do those leaders look like today? Are we finally getting unstuck from the white male supremacy in the corporate world? Slowly but surely — let's take a look!

Women in leadership statistics

Back in 1972, women took up only 18% of leadership positions but by 2016, that number went up to 40%. And according to a different source, in 2021, the proportion of women in senior roles around the globe was recorded at 31%, the highest number ever.

Fast forward to 2023, and women are already running 10% of the Fortune 500 companies.

As of the beginning of this year, there are 31 countries where 34 women lead the state or the government. And women are not just more present in leadership roles — they are welcomed and trusted to take them.

In a survey by ResumeLab, 38% of people said they prefer working for women, while only 26% said they prefer to have a male boss. At the same time, 78% of all female respondents said they are more comfortable with having women as leaders at their workplace, while 42% said they trust a female boss more than a male boss.

Some studies suggest that women tend to be more empathetic leaders. Both concepts, empathy and leadership, are under the influence of many factors, not just gender. Nevertheless, female leadership in the workplace has proved to be positively different, as women tend to use empathetic leadership styles to influence others and build trust.

Research by Harvard Business Review found that women might actually be better leaders than men are — they score higher on leadership skills. When it comes to resilience, for example, women scored 54.7 percentile, while men reached only 49.3. This means that women are better at responding and adapting to changes at the workplace, they take action quicker. At the same time, the research has found that women often have excellent problem-solving skills, are reliable, motivated, and driven — the exact things people need in a leader.

But even though the number of women taking leadership positions is experiencing a positive change, things are going much slower with gender pay gap. A recent research found that in the US, women are still making only 82% of what men make, when taking the exact same roles. And although there are some positive changes there, this gap has been relatively steady for the past two decades. For 100 men, for example, only 87 women get promoted to managerial positions.

Gender diversification is bringing some positive statistics about leadership, but is there really enough diversity in leadership? When you think of a 'boss', what is the first thing that comes to mind? If it is a white male in his 40s+ we still have some work to do. It is clear that proper leadership knows no race or gender, sometimes even young leaders prove to be much more progressive and professional than older ones.

So is that leadership landscape diverse enough? Read on to find out!

Diversity in leadership statistics

Diversity in the workplace is still a very much tangible issue in the workplace, let alone in leadership. Harvard Business Review conducted a survey where 78% of respondents said they work for organizations that lack diversity in leadership positions. And those companies are missing out on a lot of levels — inclusive companies are 1.7 times more likely to be innovative and get to enjoy 2.3 times more cash flow per employee.

As of 2022, there are six Black CEOs in the Fortune 500 rankings. Even though this is just 1% of the total number, this is still an all-time high.

But when it comes to the board of director levels, companies that are more culturally and ethnically diverse have proved to be 43% more likely to experience above-average profits. There is, of course, a big difference between leadership and management, but the more diverse the board of directors is, the more likely it is to be full of unconventional leadership ideas.

But it all starts with unequal opportunities, of course. People of color have fewer chances to graduate with a degree that would secure them a leadership position in the future, and so in the end they need to fight harder to get there.

Research by the National Center for Education Statistics found that Black and most other minority students are less likely to end up with a degree than white students. Their data shows that 54% of Asian Americans, 35% of white Americans, 21% of Black Americans, and only 15% of Hispanic Americans, managed to get a bachelor's degree or a degree even higher than that.

The good news is that global leadership is very much aware of this lack of diversity issue and believes things need to change on every level. 92% of business leaders agree that organizations need to initiate strategic workforce education programs to set and achieve diversity and inclusion goals.

Wrapping up

Being a leader is becoming more difficult than ever — people expect business leaders to continuously upskill themselves and their workforce, recognize and address increased stress levels at work, and solve inclusion and diversity problems, while also driving the company toward successful business outcomes.

Employees want to know that their leaders have a clear idea of where the company is headed, what kind of mission drives it, and what roadblocks are going to come up on the way. No doubt, being in a leadership position is stressful, and the more people you have standing behind you the bigger the stress will be.

But if there is one thing leaders are good at, it would be troubleshooting. In this case, there are two major things to address.

One, people management and all the issues that come with it, including making them feel comfortable and appreciated at work, while also being driven and challenged enough to grow within their roles.

Two, business management, which requires leaders to get clear on the type of business they are building, why they are building it, and how they plan to succeed in today's troubled economy.

One way or another, the world of leadership is very dynamic and we see it change by the day, leadership statistics stand to prove that. And in order to be ahead of the curve, leaders need to always look at the bigger picture of what is going on in the world.

Enjoy the post? Sign up for the latest strategies, stories and product updates.

You might also like

Try Runn today for free!

Join over 10k users worldwide.
Start scheduling in less than 10 minutes.
No credit card needed