Press release:

Government must recognise role of managers in halting unemployment crisis

Wednesday 19 May 2021
  • Job losses during the pandemic could cost Government £4 billion
  • Good management is critical to the success of the Government’s job creation programme - costing £2.6 billion in 2021/22 alone - and in helping low-skilled and younger employees stay and thrive in the workplace
  • Learning and Work Institute and the Chartered Management Institute urge Government to embed management into employment and skills policy to ensure successful outcomes

The Government must recognise the vital role managers have to play as it works to ensure the success of  its £2.6 billion(i) job drive.

A shift to remote working in the pandemic has made starting a new job even more challenging. Managers have a key role to play in helping new employees thrive and remain in the workplace, according to a new report, Building Strong Foundations, published today by leading research organisations Learning and Work Institute and Chartered Management Institute (CMI).

The Government recently announced a raft of measures to support the country’s economic recovery. But an area glaringly absent was how those starting new jobs will be supported so they stay and thrive in their new careers and the new report has highlighted the vital role managers have to play in the process.

The 380,000 job losses reported by the end of December 2020 alone could cost the government an estimated £4 billion over the course of a single year(ii). Good management will be essential to keeping new recruits in the workplace and delivering a lasting return on investment.

According to the research, young people and low-skilled workers with fewer qualifications have borne the brunt of job losses during the pandemic and were more likely to have been furloughed or to have lost their job(iii). This means that many of those supported into new jobs through the Government’s programmes will be lower-skilled and younger workers who face unique challenges compared to those starting with more experience or higher-level qualifications. Of those surveyed in the research, 91% of low-skilled employees agree that it’s important to have a supportive manager when taking up a new role.

Meanwhile, 60% of managers who have been involved in onboarding low skilled workers since the start of the first lockdown said that they have found it harder to manage these new recruits. On the other hand  86% said their role in onboarding low skilled workers has become even more important over the past year, due to the additional support needed.

The report urges the Government to build the role of managers into employment and skills policy to complement existing initiatives which recognise the need to support management and leadership development. A broader, forward-facing approach to jobs and employment will be critical in enabling inclusive economic growth and giving everyone the opportunity to upskill and play their part in economic recovery from the pandemic.

Dr Fiona Aldridge, Director of Policy and Research at the Learning and Work Institute said:

During the budget, the Chancellor committed to doing ‘whatever it takes’ to get the economy through the crisis and to Build Back Better. Our research shows that alongside considerable investment in employment and skills programmes, it is critical that we also invest in and support good managers. This will ensure that those most affected by the economic crisis have the best chance of successfully returning to and progressing at work - and are able to share in the benefits of economic recovery.

Daisy Hooper, Head of Policy and Public Affairs at CMI said:

We welcome the Government’s efforts to help people into work but the missing part of the puzzle is good management, which our research shows is not just a nice-to-have but crucial for employee success and retention. Good managers are key in helping low skilled and younger people entering employment have the motivation to stay and to achieve their potential. To ensure the success of its considerable investment and value for the taxpayer the Government needs to embed good management practice into their employment and skills policy. This will not only benefit employers and employees but also the economy and society with more people getting and keeping good quality, productive jobs.

To get a copy the Building Strong Foundations report visit which also includes a brand new resource for managers.

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Notes to editors

  1. Coronavirus: Getting people back into work Number 8965, 15 March 2021 (
  2. Our estimates of the cost to the taxpayers are based on the increase in 380,000 unemployed by December 2020 Coronavirus: Getting people back into work Number 8965, 15 March 2021 (
    Our £4 billion figure is calculated by taking the cost of to the Government of supporting each of these unemployed individual for a year (with universal credit and job seekers allowance claimed) and the lost income to the Government from a minimum wage role (income tax, employers national insurance and employees national insurance)
  3. When furlough has to stop: Next steps to avert long-term unemployment

About Learning and Work Institute

Learning and Work Institute is an independent policy, research and development organisation dedicated to lifelong learning, full employment and inclusion. We research what works, influence policy, develop new ways of thinking, and help implement new approaches.

The Chartered Management Institute (CMI)

The Chartered Management Institute (CMI) is the chartered professional body for management and leadership, counting more than 164,000 managers and leaders in its membership community. There are currently over 11,000 Chartered Managers and growing.

Backed by a unique Royal Charter, CMI is the only organisation able to award Chartered Manager status - the ultimate management accolade, which is proven to boost individuals’ career prospects, management capability, and impact in the workplace.