Nov 05

Shortage of Skilled Leaders and Managers in the UK

Published by Ralph Moody


In August of this year the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) carried out some research with UK Companies and it highlighted some shocking truths. It reveals 9 out of 10 firms think a lack of leadership and management skills is harming their business.

The majority of UK businesses believe they are at risk of being held back by a shortage of skilled team leaders and managers, based on the proven direct link between best management and leadership practice and business performance. The UK is in real danger of falling far behind its global competitors.

  • Nearly all firms expressed concern that low levels of management skills are having a negative impact on their business 
  • 43% do not have a staff development or talent plan in place to ensure a future supply of leaders and managers
  • Fewer than 1 in 5 employers expect team leaders and managers to have received training prior to promotion

Over 750 managers with responsibility for their organisation’s talent management were asked about their staff development plans and current management capability. It revealed a significant weakness in leadership and management skill levels, particularly at first line management level. Nearly half of employers identified a lack of internal staff capability as the single biggest barrier to ensuring an effective supply of leaders and managers through their organisation. Half of the companies involved had no internal staff development or talent plan in place at all. Because of this, organisations are failing to capitalise on internal talent, with only 55% of managerial vacancies filled internally.

Many staff have the skills and knowledge but they have not been recognised through achievement of qualifications and therefore lack the confidence to apply themselves fully as many critical leadership skills are undervalued and underdeveloped at lower management levels.

UK companies risk ending up with teams led by ‘expert novices’ – Team Leaders or Managers with excellent technical capability but lacking management capability or leadership potential, and, moreover, ill-prepared for the demands of more senior roles. Organisations should be fully focused on developing Team Leaders and managers not just for their current role, but for the future goal and economic prosperity of their organisation.

Now more than ever, businesses should be investing in leadership and management development at all levels to ensure strong business performance and effectiveness. They need to consider the personal qualities of managers as well as their technical skills, helping them become confident and productive for the demands of 21st century leadership.

Developing leadership capability at all levels enables organisations to promote from within instead of relying on external recruitment, which can be expensive and risky. Businesses with strong internal staff development plans can also reap the benefits of improved company culture and employee loyalty.

ILM’s recommendations include:

  • Create a staff development plan – this enables the introduction and recognition of essential skills development prior to being appointed to a management position 
  • Develop the right skills – the research identified three key skills required at all levels of management: communication, people management and organisation and planning 
  • Technical skills matter, but should not be over-valued – these skills are important, but are not an indicator of management capability or leadership potential

At Target Training we believe that all Staff, whether they are Team Members, Team Leaders or Managers should be allowed to develop their skills and knowledge. By offering the Institute of Leadership & Management Qualifications and effective training we can help staff gain national recognition of these skills and knowledge and give them the confidence to be an highly effective member of any Organisation.

See our link here for details of qualifications and here for a list of open courses available.



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