By Daniel Hunter

The standard of UK management is being held back by employers failing to take full advantage of the benefits of qualified managers, new research published by the CMI (Chartered Management Institute) warns today (Thursday).

Despite the fact that 90% of the 1,185 managers surveyed said qualifications made them perform better and 87% reported an increase in the quality of their work, 41% of UK managers felt they weren’t supported by their employer to make full use of their new skills. Indeed, some 40% of bosses didn’t even talk to their employees about their new knowledge — missing vital opportunities to raise standards across the workforce.

Line managers were identified as a particular barrier, with one in five (24%) not providing support for studying managers and 79% failing to set objectives for learning. Just 16% of managers were asked to train other staff on new skills and knowledge once they had gained their qualification.

Despite this, the Value of Management and Leadership Qualifications report shows that an individual manager gaining a professional qualification can still have a strong ‘ripple effect’ on their wider organisation. The vast majority (80%) of managers gaining management qualifications passed on new skills to their colleagues as a result, as well as improving the performance of their teams (79%).

“This research should be a wake-up call for employers. Good management needs to be top down — it’s no good educating your middle managers, if your senior managers are failing to support them," CMI chief executive, Ann Francke, said.

"It’s as simple as this - if you have qualified managers in your midst and you aren’t using them, you’re missing out. A step-change is needed to place qualifications at the heart of management training and development — and ensure their support at all levels.

“Qualified managers can have a huge impact on any organisation — so it’s extremely worrying that employers are failing to make use of them. Professional qualifications are designed to ensure that managers learn skills that can make a real difference in their workplace. So if professionally qualified managers are not being encouraged to share learnings and challenge the status quo, how can we hope to raise the standards of UK management?”

As well as revealing employer benefits, the research looked at the importance of qualifications for individual managers in their current roles and future careers.

Gaining a professional qualification was pinpointed as having helped secure a promotion (reported by 53%), a pay rise (35%) or a bonus (14%). However, managers don’t view qualifications merely in terms of the financial benefits they can bring — becoming a better manager was ranked as a more important motivator for getting professionally qualified than the prospect of a pay rise or promotion. Increased recognition in the workplace and wider profession was also highlighted as a benefit by 80%. And, at a time when public trust in businesses is at an all-time low, companies also feel qualified managers are a form of quality assurance for customers — something 78% highlighted as a benefit.

Return on investment was clear — 89% said the benefits of gaining a qualification outweighed the time, money and effort invested in studying for one. Gaining a qualification was seen as a key part of becoming a professional manager by 84% of managers, at a time when management is becoming increasingly professionalised — indeed 71% said management and leadership qualifications have become more important in the last five years.

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