Incentives to improve skills

Tax incentives for employers and individuals could be a viable solution to
improve the UK’s poor track record in inadequate management and leadership,
according to a two-year research project.

The Council for Excellence in Management and Leadership (CEML) has devised
30 recommend-ations to improve management and leadership in the UK. Its report
Managers and leaders: raising our game was launched last month.

Setting out CEML’s findings, the report proposes a shake-up to improve the
demand for manage-ment and leadership development, boost the supply of vital
skills and bring about a step-change in the link between supply and demand.

Its first recommendation is that a national framework of indicators of the
UK’s management and leadership capability be developed to promote the
importance of developing good managers and leaders.

The report further recommends the voluntary corporate reporting of
management and leadership capability for public and private sector
organisations through appropriate bodies, including Investors in People. It
proposes that IiP develops and promotes an optional leadership development
module for IiP organisations.

Council member Professor Stephen Watson, principal of Henley Management
College, said: "We must find ways of stimulating demand for management

Watson is keen to see financial incentives as a means of raising demand. The
report of the working group which he chaired recommends: "Government
should pursue effective methods of giving individuals and employers financial
incen-tives, to invest in the continued development of individuals at work.
Incentives used in other countries should be considered for application in this
country." The reference is mainly to Singapore, where tax incentives are
very effective in getting people into management education.

CEML recommends that the case for a national forum to improve dialogue
between business schools, other providers and their corporate customers be

"Most business schools want to engage with employers because their
students go into employment and they are concerned about preparing them
satisfactorily. You also need feedback on what skills are needed in the
marketplace in order to construct your courses effectively. But it is difficult
finding individuals in industry who have the time and are sufficiently
passionate about management education to want to influence it," Watson

The Council’s ultimate recommendation is for a strategic body for management
and leadership to be established by the Government.

Its key functions will be to set targets; identify priorities for action;
monitor supply and demand; report on progress towards developing an adequate
quality and quantity of skilled managers and leaders; and to report on progress
towards CEML’s recommendations.

By Elaine Essery

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