Get qualified to get ahead


Who you know will take you a long way in your management career. What you know will also get you far. But for the truly ambitious manager, it is being able to prove your ability and knowledge that makes the difference.

A poll of more than 2,000 workers and managers by the UK's Chartered Management Institute has found that a manager's commitment to long-term professional development is becoming a much more important part of the hiring process.

To this end, nearly two thirds of employers and three quarters of managers now believe that being able to show you have a management qualification under your belt will become much more important during the next five years, said the institute.

Six out of 10 employers, the survey found, believe having qualified managers boosted productivity, while for individuals there is a strong belief that having such qualifications can help them get promoted more quickly.

The most valued qualifications are MBAs and diplomas, but many managers and workers complain they are unsure which qualification to go for to bring them the most career advantage.

Who funds their study, employee or employer, also remains a significant bone of contention.

Many employers now see providing the opportunity to gain qualifications as a key weapon in the war for talent, with seven out of 10 suggesting it enhanced their professional reputation and nearly two thirds believing it boosted their ability to attract staff.

The vast majority of individuals felt a general management qualification would help them to develop a portfolio career because it would give them better transferable skills.

And more than eight out of 10 managers believed such qualifications would improve their chances of employment in the future, while nearly seven out of 10 saying it would improve their promotion prospects.

Yet, while such qualifications were often an aspiration, the reality was often different, with the daily grind of working and family life meaning that fewer than one in five managers actually held a management qualification.

Other barriers were the complexity of the qualifications system, with two thirds of managers arguing too many qualifications existed and more than half feeling all the different levels were confusing.

Half were worried about the impact it would have on their family life, while four out of 10 were concerned it would have a negative effect on their work.

A significant proportion had sought employer investment, with 43 per cent seeking full funding and 39 per cent looking for partial financial contributions.

CMI chief executive Mary Chapman said: "The current low level of management skills is untenable, so it is encouraging to see a thirst for change.

"Compared to other professions, managers are significantly under-qualified. Yet many are giving the strongest sign yet that they want to address this situation," she added.

"Significant numbers are looking for training and development as part of their remuneration package and employers should take note of this because by offering professional development they are more likely to retain the top talent and build for the future," she concluded.