93% of survey respondents concerned over calibre of managerial skills in UK firms

Posted on 21 Aug 2012

The Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) released a report earlier this month which highlighted the dangers of neglecting the teaching of communication, people management and project planning.

The ILM argues that companies are better off filling managerial vacancies internally, rather than paying recruitment consultancies to find the right person for the job. This argument makes sense; someone coming in from another company has to adapt to his or her environment, and it can often be a slow process. In a manufacturing business, having a long-term employed and highly skilled engineer that is able to effectively manage a team and pass on technical as well as management skills is a huge benefit to the company.

The ILM survey found that 57% of employers have a plan in place to ensure they have employees that are able to fill future managerial roles. These ‘talent plans’ help to ensure that employee retention is kept as high as possible, and reduces the need to recruit people from outside the company – expensive as well as inconvenient.

If employees know they are being taught how to manage as well as do their everyday job, the company benefits in the long-term because a sense of commitment to the company is more likely to be instilled in the les senior employees. It acts as a kind of catalyst – young employees learn how to manage teams of people and delegate efficiently at the same time as learning a trade.

According to the survey, 55% of managerial vacancies are filled internally. The majority of the rest are outsourced to recruitment consultancies. In the report, the ILM argues: “When a pipeline is working well, leadership skills filter up through a business via training and investment from first line management onwards. This process should give employers confidence in the talent coming through the ranks and enable them to make the majority of managerial appointments internally.”

Almost half (47%) of employers cite the lack of internal staff capability as the single biggest barrier to ensuring an effective pipeline of leaders and managers. Without the necessary skills and capabilities being developed internally, the cycle of external recruitment, with its additional costs and risks, can impact on the ability of UK businesses to build their future operations.

The ILM’s research also reveals that other barriers to a supply of effective managers include insufficient investment in the training and development of managers (11%) and lack of talent strategies to identify and develop leadership and management capability (9%). Without these core development components in place, employers are thought to struggle to overturn the internal skills deficit.