Managers frustrated by lack of opportunity

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Employers are failing to offer Britain's managers opportunities to develop as a new survey finds that managers are eager for recognition, fed up with workplace cliques and frustrated by their efforts to realise their career ambitions.

The 2005 'Motivation Matters' survey of more than 1,800 individuals carried out by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) and Adecco found that a lack of career development and promotion prospects is the biggest issue for Britain's managers, with half (48 per cent) of junior and middle managers saying they feel hampered by a lack of opportunity.

And despite the fact that almost six out of 10 citied the challenge of the job as a major reason for joining their employer, two-thirds of respondents also said they would have to leave their current job to gain promotion.

The survey is only the latest in a long line of research to highlight the failure of employers to take into account the importance of providing opportunities for development.

While many insist that salary and benefits are the largest cause of attrition, development opportunities are rated more important than any other factor by employees when it came to what made them decide to change jobs.

Underlining this, the CMI survey found that 17 per cent of managers felt hampered by a lack of career guidance while almost a quarter of junior managers complained of an absence of training and education programmes.

Many also said that they want to be stretched and would welcome the challenge of special assignments. More than half of those experiencing secondments or project management believe that these are effective development tools.

Almost one in five (18 per cent) added that age had restricted their career opportunities and hindered progression.

"Individual managers need to review their career plans regularly, but employers must also play a part in developing staff," said Adecco's Richard Macmillan.

"Talented people will move if they are no longer satisfied in their role and organisations need to listen if they are to foster environments which demonstrate a commitment to individual and organisational values."

Office cliques were another complaint, with more than a quarter of the managers surveyed saying that they felt excluded from the 'inner circle' of influential people and that social pressure at work and old boys' networks exacerbated these feelings of exclusion.

One the positive side, however, a third of suggested that informal mentoring schemes could be the answer to this the problem.

The survey also found that while managers are motivated to work long hours, one in three feel that their leisure activities have been curtailed by work commitments.

Unsurprisingly, a growing proportion of managers backed a more flexible approach to work, with a compressed working weeks, annualised hours and sabbaticals emerging as popular ways of accommodating professional and personal lives.

According to the CMI's Jo Causon: "Managers are clearly motivated by their desire to perform and progress, but to retain highly committed managers, organisations need to invest more in providing opportunities to develop new skills, design more challenging roles and enable people to meet professional and personal commitments."

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