Nearly half of managers failed to receive any training in 2015

28 January 2016 -


A lack of training means those in managerial positions are lacking key skills that could damage the future growth of their companies

Matt Scott

Almost half (48%) of UK managers have not received any form of training during the last 12 months, down from 50% in 2013, according to research conducted by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES).

This means that people working in managerial positions are less likely to receive training than any other type of employee.

While UK businesses have spent more than £45bn on training over the last 12 months, the 2015 Employer Skills Survey found that a third of organisations failed to provide any training during 2015 and that 37% of the UK working population remain untrained in the last year for the role they are working in.

Research from CMI has found that 71% of UK organisations admit they fail to effectively train first-time managers, and CMI director of strategy Petra Wilton said this is directly responsible for the struggles businesses are facing in attracting talented individuals and teams.

“British firms may grumble about ‘talent poverty’ but it’s a direct result of businesses’ under-investment in management skills training – especially for more senior roles,” she said. “Half of candidates lack professional management and leadership skills because the majority of employers don’t offer training to first-time managers.

“We know that 43% of workers rate their line managers as ineffective, failing to recognise or support their talents. This is a finding echoed in today’s figures with two million workers under-used across the UK economy.”

Training adds value

Effective management training, however, can reverse this trend and businesses that invest in the training of their management teams can benefit massively both in terms of improved organisational and financial performance.

“Our research also shows that those who do develop their managers see up to 23% improvements in organisational performance,” Wilton said. “Chartered Managers on average add more that £391,000 of value to their employers.”

“Employers must now take advantage of programmes like the Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship to grow their own talent if the UK is ever to rise from the bottom of the G7 rankings on productivity,” she added.

All you need to know about the Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship

This lack of training is causing a skills gap that threatens the future growth and innovation of companies across the UK.

The UKCES found that managers, compared to other UK employees, were more likely to be lacking in skills relating to:

  • Objectives setting and planning resources
  • Managing or motivating other staff
  • Knowledge of how the organisation works

Worryingly, managers were also found to be suffering from a lack of expertise in complex analytical skills.

The report said: “The most common skills deemed to be lacking among existing staff were people and personal skills relating to workload management and teamwork. Specialist, job-specific skills were also widely considered to be lacking, along with complex analytical skills, especially among those in high-skill occupations such as managers and professionals.

“A lack of complex analytical skills could have serious implications on the ability of staff to respond to increasingly dynamic workplaces and developments in technology and thus restrict establishments’ potential for innovation and long-term growth.”

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Overall, almost 1.4 million employees, equal to 5% of the UK workforce, are lacking the skills to do their job proficiently.

The 2015 Employer Skills Survey found that 14% of organisations have staff that are not fully proficient in their role, something that is putting a massive dent in UK productivity, which lags behind other G7 countries by 20% according to the Office for National Statistics.

UKCES commissioner and Sweett Group CEO Douglas McCormick said: “Knowing that UK productivity has flatlined since 2008 at the same time as employers know of talent untapped in their workers is not easy to take in.”

An untapped resource

The UKCES survey also found that 37% of businesses that reported under-utilising their staff said it was most likely to occur among those occupying managerial roles.

The report concluded that this was attributable to “a natural narrowing of the ladder as it reaches the top, meaning that the number of people who can continue to climb is limited”.

The most common reasons for managerial under-utilisation were found to be managers not being interested in taking on a higher level role (27%); they already own the business or are a partner (16%); and the working hours in their current role suit them better (11%).

Research from CMI’s Future Forecast report, however, found that 27% of managers want to make more use of their talents over 2016, making it the number one individual priority for managers this year.

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