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Increased emphasis on management training reaps benefits


A survey published by the Institute of Management suggests that more UK managers than ever are taking part in both formal training courses and informal learning, and that this is having a positive effect on financial performance of organisations.

Achieving Management Excellence follows up research undertaken in 1996 and 1994, which aimed to assess progress made since Charles Handy's research in 1987. That research found that many of Britain's managers received no formal training and that they lacked the development opportunities of their overseas competitors.

The survey finds there has been a major increase in management training since the last report in 1996 - it has risen by 18 per cent in larger organisations and 25 per cent in smaller companies since the last study in 1996, and averages six and a half days in both large and smaller organisations.

There is also growing recognition of the value of a planned and co-ordinated approach to training in Britain's companies. Over half (51 per cent) now have a written statement of management development (the figure was 43 percent in 1996), and four in ten managers say their organisation has a budget set aside specifically for management development.

UK business is starting to see training as an investment. 60 per cent of those who took part in the 1996 and 2000 surveys who gave management training a high priority also reveal an increase in financial turnover compared with others in their sector. In contrast, of those companies which give lower priority to management development, only 46 per cent report increased turnover.

On the downside, nearly half of respondents cite cost as the biggest barrier to training (80 percent site time as the biggest problem).

The survey also reveals a recognisable shift from formal to informal training, and an increased demand for management skills across the board, with soft skills at the top of the list.

The research, undertaken with the help of the DfEE, DTI, the Open University Business School and an advisory panel of British business covered 1,000 individuals - 500 HR managers (of which 223 were from the same organisations as those interviewed in the 1996 research) and 500 line managers, and in-depth interviews were carried out with senior board members from 20 leading organisations.


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