Eight trends in leadership and career development

This is the first in a series of articles sharing insights from the Design Career Index 2019 annual report.

The missing piece

Do we really need another report on design?

A number of reports have been released in recent years on various aspects of design. Most notably, are the Design in Tech series by John Maeda, the value of design reports by both IBM and McKinsey, and a report on design maturity models by InVision.

Each of these reports includes valuable insights, which I encourage you to check out. You’ll find a number of overlapping themes, including: design is an ever changing field, new tools appear constantly, good design leads to better business outcomes, and companies are still trying to figure out what to do with design.

There were, however, two additional themes that surfaced in my research on organizational health and maturity, which are not explored in these reports: how companies are struggling with design leadership and how to effectively scale design.

The Design Career Index annual report explores a deeper understanding of what effective design leadership looks like, how to organize and scale design, and the importance of having a formalized career development framework.

Beyond the design industry

Many of the trends in the Design Career Index, including the impact of career ladders, the presence of executive leadership, and challenges with diversity programs are also found in Product, Engineering, and Sales organizations. They are not unique to the field of Design.

Talent is the multiplier. The more energy and attention you invest in it, the greater the yield. — Marcus Buckingham

Highlights from the design career index report

The full report, which clocks in at 43 pages, includes dozens of insights on leadership and organizational health. These are just a few:

  • The average size of a design organization is 11
  • 51% of design organizations use a hybrid model (reports centrally, functions as embedded teams)
  • Millennials make up over half of the workforce, creating an entirely new set of challenges and opportunities for companies
  • Companies are under-investing in leadership development
  • 47% of people left their last role due to poor leadership or management
  • 35% of people left due to lack of career growth/opportunities
  • Companies who invest in design leadership and have documented career progressions have a 50% in crease in employee engagement and up to 250% longer employee retention
  • Technology and Agency/Consultancies index highest in organizational health and maturity, while Sales/Marketing index lowest

Dig deeper into these eight themes and much more in the 43 page Design Career Index annual report.

Executive leadership coach. Speaker. Author.

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