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20 Statistics on Leadership Development


We recently conducted an internal project to see what sort of statistics were available on corporate leadership (strategy, competencies, effectiveness, development, diversity, etc). 

After 3 weeks scouring the web, we managed to collect and sort 300+ stats, which we have begun uploading into a searchable database. From the larger collection, here is a small sample relevant to leadership development. If you would like access to the full collection, register your interest below and we will notify you when the database is up and ready for searching.

  • 36% of organisations don’t have a leadership development strategy. Source
  • More than one in five companies (21%) have no leadership programs at all. Source
  • [leadership development] is the No. 1 category in corporate learning and development spending. Source
  • 25% of overall L&D budget is spent on leadership development. Source
  • The 2014 Aon Hewitt Top Companies for Leaders study indicates that the average organisation spends USD$1.1m on leadership development and USD$400,000 on high potential development yearly. Source
  • 58% of organisations spend more than $1,000 per learner on training for senior leadership—compared to just 39% for high potentials and 32% for mid-level management. Source
  • Recent evidence for the Asia-Pacific region (including Australia) shows that for every $10 spent on senior leaders, only $1 is spent on frontline leaders. Source
  • Evaluation of leadership development programmes is inconsistent. For many, it starts and ends with learner feedback (77% of programmes) and completion statistics (73%). Only 50% collect information on the extent to which learning points have been understood and only 31% collect information from learners on how they have applied their learning. Source
  • A study of executive coaching practices by CoachSource in 2013 showed that 60% of organisations still use self-reported progress as the primary measure of success (Kirkpatrick Level 1) while only 34% examine business impact that comes from the intervention. Source
  • Compared to other areas, organisations seem to have relatively high levels of confidence in leadership development actions - 43% are highly confident. Source
  • Organizations that spend more than 31% of their annual training and development budget specifically on leadership development are 12% more likely to report increased revenue. Source
  • Only 20% of the skills or knowledge taught in leadership training programs is transferred into new leadership habits. Source
  • Only 15% of employees feel the training they get prepares them for the next position. Source
  • Organizations with highly rated leadership development programs were 8.8 times more likely to have high leadership quality and bench strength compared to those organizations with low-rated programs. Source
  • Nearly half of respondents (44%) characterise leadership development in their organisation as poor, and more than half (54%) describe it as ineffective. Source
  • 81% of organisations do not measure the return on investment of leadership development interventions. Source
  • Research shows the impact of a leader is not fully realised in the organisation for about 3 years, so patience is necessary when evaluating and realising the full effects of leadership development investments. Source
  • The learning methodology that is most effective for leadership development is exposure to peers and colleagues, as well as to consumer feedback, new external contexts, and social networks. Source
  • 40% of respondents see getting participants to commit time away from their job to participate as the most difficult challenge to initiating a new leadership development initiative. Source
  • 7% of respondents rate themselves “excellent” at building millennial leaders. Source
Theo Winter

Theo Winter

Client Services Manager, Writer & Researcher. Theo is one of the youngest professionals in the world to earn an accreditation in TTI Success Insight's suite of psychometric assessments. For more than a decade, he worked with hundreds of HR, L&D and OD professionals and consultants to improve engagement, performance and emotional intelligence of leaders and their teams. He authored the book "40 Must-Know Business Models for People Leaders."

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