Bosses blocking workers' careers

2006

Fewer than half of UK employees are happy with the way their careers are progressing, and many blame their boss for their lack of progress, according to new British research.

The study by Investors in People also found that many employees believe their manager is not doing enough to help them.

When it comes to their career, employees rely heavily on their boss's support, it concluded.

Two-thirds said their manager was important to their progression through the company, yet fewer than half believed he or she was doing enough to help them.

Even more alarmingly, one in five employees claimed they were mis-sold opportunities for career progression when they joined their organisation.

However, managers questioned about their own development were upbeat about their prospects, with two thirds claiming to be happy with the progression of their career and almost half seeing no obstacles to further advancement.

Ruth Spellman, IiP UK chief executive, said: "This research exposes managers who are failing to help employees reach their full potential.

Many seem to pay lip-service to the development of those around them

"Whilst happy with the progression of their own careers, many seem to pay lip-service to the development of those around them.

"Keeping employees involved, motivated and productive is a vital part of any managerial role, and crucial to keeping the organisation on track," she added.

A common problem among employees looking to progress their career appeared to be the lack of new opportunity or role to move into, with more than a third of employees questioned seeing this as the biggest obstacle.

Disappointingly, employers were failing to recognise employee concerns and provide a suitable response.

More than a third of employees claimed their organisation let them down when it comes to effective day-to-day management support, setting development goals and providing regular career reviews to help their progression.

"These findings should concern employers across the UK. By failing to align their people strategy with business goals, employers are undermining the motivation of employees and the development and growth of their organisation," said Spellman.

"Skills shortages and productivity gaps remain high on the business agenda, yet this research shows many employers aren't bothering to take even basic steps to get the most of out their workforce," she added.

"Developing and supporting employees' potential is fundamental to business success – employers must recognise and act on this now. If not, they risk employees taking their skills and experience elsewhere," she concluded.

When asked what was important to career progression, a quarter of employees cited agreed development goals, 23 per cent said day-to-day management support, 21 per cent said training courses, and 14 per cent cited regular career reviews.