Organizations Are Looking Within for Emerging Leaders, MRA Survey Shows

May 10, 2023
Press Release
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Kathryn Klopfer, Marketing Communications & PR Manager
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Organizations Are Looking Within for Emerging Leaders, MRA Survey Shows

MILWAUKEE, WI (May 10, 2023) – MRA’s latest Hot Topic Survey on Emerging Leaders shows that more than half of organizations (62%) identify emerging leaders. With such a competitive job market, along with changing workforce demographics and developing business needs, organizations are looking within and identifying emerging leaders to play a vital role.

“By investing in developing emerging leaders, organizations can proactively address talent shortages, build a pipeline of capable leaders, and position themselves for success,” said Jim Morgan, Vice President, Business Development and Workforce Strategies.

According to MRA’s survey, respondents suggest the top three reasons to identify emerging leaders are:

  1. Career development for high achievers (86 percent)
  2. Succession planning (81 percent)
  3. Maintain our culture (52 percent)

Identifying emerging leaders can happen organically, but it often requires a systematic approach. Based on survey results, the top five criteria of emerging leaders are:

  1. High performer (91 percent)
  2. High potential (90 percent)
  3. Demonstrates motivation and desire to grow in their career (88 percent)
  4. Behavior aligns with organizational values (80 percent)
  5. Team player (80 percent)

MRA’s survey provides the top opportunities for growth that an employer can offer their emerging leaders:

  1. External training or classes (78 percent)
  2. Mentoring (65 percent)
  3. One-on-one meetings (65 percent)
  4. Cross-training (64 percent)

Forty-one percent of responding organizations would like to start an emerging leaders program but have not due to a lack of resources (47%), other priorities (38%), or are unsure of their organization’s emerging leaders strategy (38%).

Defining what your organization finds critical in leadership is important to help the organization succeed. These competencies may include communication skills, strategic thinking, adaptability, team building, and decision-making abilities. At the same time, these traits should align with the organization’s values, culture, and strategic goals. Other factors to consider may include high performers, those with the potential for growth, employees who are willing to take on new challenges, the ability to influence others, and the demonstration of leadership behaviors. The criteria should be objective and measurable to ensure fairness and consistency in the identification process.

According to MRA’s survey, 31% of organizations have seen an increase in employee retention since identifying emerging leaders.

“When done correctly, an emerging leader program can offer employees opportunities for growth, development, recognition, relationship building, and leadership support, and contribute to their organizational commitment, all of which can contribute to improved employee retention rates,” added Morgan.

The 20-question survey was conducted in April 2023, with 233 organizations contributing data.
To obtain a copy of MRA’s full Emerging Leaders Hot Topic Survey, contact the Surveys Team at
800.488.4845 ex. 3508.


About MRA – The Management Association: Founded in 1901, MRA is a nonprofit employer association that serves 4,500 employers, covering more than 1 million employees worldwide. As the largest employer association in the nation, MRA helps its members thrive by offering comprehensive HR services, talent management, learning and organization development opportunities, and total rewards planning. MRA helps organizations build a successful workplace and a powerful workforce. Headquartered in Wisconsin, MRA has regional offices in Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, and Ohio. To learn more about MRA, visit