The government should allocate more investment to management and leadership training as part of the UK’s ‘levelling up’ agenda, the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) has said.
In its submission to HM Treasury ahead of the comprehensive spending review on 27 October, the CMI said that a lack of quality management was affecting the UK’s productivity, and that by making small improvements in management capability, organisations and workers would become more productive.
Research by the CMI and the Institute of Directors in January 2021 identified a gap between the management skills needed by employers and the management capacity of their workforce.
“Good management and leadership will be essential to deliver the government’s growth plans – on infrastructure and transition to net zero, on levelling up, and on innovation. This is also critical to ensure that everyone, no matter what background, is able to achieve their potential in work,” the document says.
It has identified five requirements that the review should include to ensure a thriving economy:
- Maintaining current higher education spending
- Protecting apprenticeship funding, including at degree level – the government has a £2.3bn budget for apprenticeships in 2021/22
- Building management development into education, training, and sector policies
- Including four core skills (communication, problem-solving, teamwork, and digital competency) into all courses funded by government. CMI estimates that an additional investment of around £240m per annum would be required, which could be funded through a combination of the National Skills Fund and employer contributions
- Requiring all government procurement bids to include management and leadership development.
Ann Francke, CMI chief executive, said the five recommendations “aren’t just nice-to-haves – they’re vital if levelling up is to become a reality”.
Leadership and management skills
She said: “The chancellor has a golden opportunity to demonstrate his personal passion for improved management by committing to long-term investment in training and leadership skills, and by putting improved management at the heart of every contract the government enters in to.
“Sustained funding for higher and further education must be at the heart of ‘levelling up’ and ‘building back better’. Ministers’ aspirations won’t become a reality unless we see a commitment to building Britain’s human capital at the very heart of this spending review.”
CMI head of policy Daisy Hooper said: “With an annual procurement budget of almost £300bn a year there is a huge opportunity for the government to drive private sector commitment to good management and leadership through making M&L training a mandatory requirement for any organisation tendering for a government contract.”
The submission says that, without incentives, private sector employers do not invest in leadership and management training.
The CBI and Birkbeck, University of London Education and Skills Survey 2021 found that 41% of businesses expected the need for skills linked to good management and leadership practices to increase in the next five years. However, employers are least confident about meeting these management-related skills needs compared with meeting other skills needs.
Other recommendations made by the CMI include:
- Mandatory gender, ethnicity and disability pay gap reporting for any organisation with more than 50 employees and a turnover over £10m that receives public funds
- A requirement to produce an up to date equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) strategy and action plan as part of any applications for public funds, for organisations with more than 50 employees and a turnover of over £10m
- The provision of practical support and advice for organisation with related EDI training for all managers, to be funded through the apprenticeship levy
- Ensuring that SMEs managers and leaders are trained on how to build and foster inclusive working environments through modules on EDI
- Bringing the implementation of the Lifelong Loan Entitlement forward to late 2022 to ensure a consistent and transparent approach to funding for higher level study and to accelerate access to level 4 and 5 courses.