As featured in The Daily Telegraph
Four out of 10 bosses say they would be concerned about their job security if they had a definite succession plan in place, while a quarter would feel so vulnerable that they would have to leave the company.
The findings came in research from recruitment group Office Angels, which questioned 500 managers about their plans for companies should they depart.
Worries about the impact identifying a successor could have on their careers is countered by the benefits it has the potential to bring managers.
The research revealed 41pc feel that having someone ready to take over could help them aim for their next job or a promotion, while almost a third think having a potential successor reflects well on them as an individual. Despite making clear the benefits of having a workforce plan in place, 51pc of those surveyed admitted they have yet to find a successor for themselves.
"Given the recent economic climate, it is not surprising that business leaders do not want to think they can easily be replaced," a spokesman for Office Angels said.
"While managers acknowledge the benefits of lining up their own successor, many are reluctant to actually put a workforce plan into practice for fear of jeopardising their own job.
"However, workforce planning is important for business growth. Without an intelligent strategy in place to meet future needs, organisations risk losing essential skills, productivity and revenue for every departing employee.
"Promoting from within a successful team makes sense, but as a business' needs change and evolve, so too should its employees."
He added that organisations which have a forward-looking career development in place help employees add to their skills, making them less likely to leave, and also frees up managers to meet future commercial growth. "Only a third of companies surveyed have a workforce plan in place for senior employees, and this should be extended to include the entire team," the spokesman said.
"Organisations naturally lose employees - and a certain amount can sometimes reinvigorate teams - but workforce planning can respond to employee churn rate by ensuring that there are well-qualified people ready to quickly assume positions at every level. To be effective and avoid gaps in the workplace, this should be applied to everyone, not just the chief executive."