The 2017 Shipping Forecast: Talking mental wellbeing, ageism & leadership

For the eighth successive year we presented the findings from The Lighthouse Company’s New World Talent Survey at a packed Café de Paris. These survey results represent the collective views and inner-thoughts of over 600 C-suite leaders across the media, advertising, marketing and technology sectors globally. It’s time for captains to take their ships out of port, where it is skillful sailing that assures a prosperous voyage.

As well as our annual barometer of industry health, our findings this year also highlighted two key areas permeating our industry; traits that are being Lost at C-suite and mental performance within the workplace via The Psyched Index.


This year we identify three key areas in need of attention within our sector – and have been very much substantiated within this year’s results.

1.To transform and perform – The combination of vision (chosen by 77%) and courage (34%) highlights the importance of forward thinking and gumption to be brave enough to make the right decisions for now and for the future. This was counter-balanced by the human capacity to connect with those around us; 47% claimed authenticity was a hugely desirable trait, with another 44% citing the capacity to engage with all employees as critical.

2.Out with the old, in with the new – Diversity, inclusion, equality – there’s never been a greater focus on fairness within our industry. This year we investigated an area of imbalance that most of us will expect to encounter in our later years – age.

Almost three-quarters of those we surveyed believe less than 20% of their company is aged 45+. Yet our respondents state mature employees provide a truly human upside in the workplace – emotional maturity (50% agreement), resilience (36%) and insightfulness (33%) – as well as the great benefit of accumulated business knowledge (76%) and established networks (34%).

3.Power of purpose – A recent survey by the Harvard Business Review (HBR) of c.500 senior leaders shows near-unanimity of the belief that clear purpose drives business performance.Our own research echoes this; 96% of our industry’s leaders believe a clearly articulated purpose, meaning and set of values is vital in attracting the best talent. With 45% agreement, it’s also the second most important factor influencing leadership moves.


The Mental Health at Work Report highlighted that 77% of employees have been affected by symptoms of poor mental health. 62% of employees cited work as a contributing factor.

We still need to talk – Three topics still appear taboo – mental health, disability and religion. Only 52% of our leaders feeling comfortable talking about disability and only 43% are at ease talking about religion (27% lower than the national average for people manager). We do have a clear duty of care for the mental health of our employees and yet only 50% of leaders are comfortable discussing it.

Beneath the mask – Organisations excel at helping employees with physical wellbeing and overall leaders believe there is the smallest gap between their own positive physical health and that of their employees (a 19% difference between leaders and employees). Contrast this with mental wellbeing where 70% of leaders rated their own mental wellbeing as excellent/good, 52% ranked their leadership team this way, while only 42% ranked their employees positively (a 60% difference between leaders and employees).

A duty of care – The good news is 95% of our leaders felt some level of responsibility towards the wellbeing of their team.

You can watch the full presentation of this year’s results on the video above, or alternatively download a copy of The 2017 Shipping Forecast report, as well as those from previous years, here.