Business suit 2

A worrying lack of leadership and management skills have been identified by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) as one of the reasons the UK economy is not growing faster.

In a new report, the FSB calls on policymakers, small businesses and partners in the private sector to join forces to tackle the UK’s leadership and management skills deficit.

Its research shows that while three fifths of small business owners (59%) say they update their business knowledge and skills at least once a year, specific management training is often lacking.

Only a quarter of small firms questioned (25%) had undertaken management training in the last 12 months. One in four (26%) had never undergone any form at all. The FSB also found that few smaller businesses seek external management training, with just 19% offering it to their employees.

The report claims cost and availability of relevant training are key barriers to an increase in uptake. Forty-three per cent of firms listed the cost of training as a major challenge and 34% listed availability of relevant training as a problem.

Mike Cherry, policy director at the FSB, said: "The UK's 5.4 million small businesses boast some of the most dynamic and creative business leaders in the world. However, our research demonstrates how greater investment in management skills could significantly benefit start-ups and scale-ups and help them realise their growth ambitions.

"The UK is well known as being a great place to start a business, but we need to get better at helping small firms reach the next level. A key aspect of this is making sure the right management and leadership capabilities are in place, and that these grow in line with the business."