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UK Lags Europe in Management Development


The Chartered Management Institute (CMI) has called on UK organisations to invest more time, money and thought into training managers, as a study reveals that the UK is falling behind the rest of Europe in management development.

The two-year CMI study found that UK organisations spend less than their European counterparts on management training and development, and are also the least likely to offer sufficient career planning to employees.

While nearly three-quarters (74 per cent) of UK organisations claim to have a dedicated training budget, CMI found that the average investment per capita is only EUR1,625 - representing less than half the amount spent by Germany, the country identified as the heaviest investor in management.

Of the seven countries studied, only Romania spends less than the UK.

Board Representation
Indicating that employee development is still not always given the attention it deserves, only 47% of organisations claimed to have an HR representative in the Boardroom, compared to two-thirds (69%) in France and three-quarters (74 per cent) in Norway.

Mary Chapman, chief executive of the Chartered Management Institute, says: "UK organisations need to do more to recognise the value of management development, through better evaluation of its results.

"Unless business priorities are linked to training policies and practices for current – and future - leaders, there is a real danger that other European countries will leave the UK standing still."

Factors Behind Training
Organisations were also asked what factors triggered the creation of a development programme.

Nearly a quarter (23%) focused on external changes such as the requirement to comply with government standards or the need to face up to competition.

Some respondents also identified key reasons as individual demand (15%)or the need to improve internal respect between managers and employees (7%).

Fast-Track Development
In an effort to create the leaders of tomorrow, over half of all companies (56%) claim to use fast-track development for selected managers.

This approach is particularly favoured in France (77%), Norway (71%) and Germany (67%).

The UK is comparatively weaker at identifying and 'fast-tracking' future leaders, adopting this approach in only 57% of cases.

Training Evaluation
Only four in ten (41%) of HR managers across Europe claimed to evaluate management development in a systematic way.

One-third of respondents said that their organisation's evaluation process is linked to
business measures such as sales targets.

However, nearly one-fifth (18%) of replies, across the seven countries, suggested no evaluation took place, at all.

Busimess Strategy
Chapman adds: "Evidence showing positive links between effective management development and business performance has existed for some time. Yet this research demonstrates an alarming lack of acceptance and action, particularly in the UK.

"So, unless UK organisations are content to lag behind Europe, there are three lessons that can be learnt: for management development to be effective it needs to be fully integrated into the business strategy; it needs to be thoughtful and take a long-term view.

"And most importantly, managers at all levels need to believe that their development is being taken seriously."

Further Information
* Developing Managers: a European perspective" (Mabey and Ramirez, 2004) was carried out by Birkbeck College, University of London, with a team of partners including the CMI and others from across seven EU countries: UK, France, Germany, Spain, Denmark, Norway and Romania. It was supported by the European Commission as part of the Leonardo da Vinci CVTS programme, and the DTI. Further information on the study is available from the CMI website.


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