Link between management qualifications and skills is not guaranteed

People with formal management qualifications in the UK do not necessarily have effective management skills, according to a new study. Yet HR and development managers in the UK are increasingly demanding management qualifications when recruiting candidates into managerial positions.

This contradiction is one of the key findings in a comparative study of six countries supported by authors at Brunel University and Birkbeck College.

In total, 700 HR and line managers took part in the study, which compared and contrasted practices of managerial learning and development.

Dr Matias Ramirez of Brunel University, one of the co-authors of the study, said: “We looked at European economies with common challenges of developing knowledge and skills. In terms of common areas, most firms recognised the importance of training and developing managers. The key differences were in the approach to training.”

The study revealed that Germany and Norway principally rely on internal training methods. In contrast, the UK and Denmark combine internal and external methods, such as educational qualifications.

However, while Denmark consistently valued a range of methods highly, including vocational training, UK HR managers said formal qualifications were not necessarily seen as a mechanism for effective managerial skills.

Ramirez added: “Our research suggests that in the UK, there is a mismatch between what is used and what is seen as the most effective way of developing managers.

“It appears that in the UK, formal, non-job related qualifications may be acting as a screening mechanism, rather than an effective means of improving managerial skills.

“This highlights the need for greater co-ordination between employers, providers of managerial qualifications and policy makers.”

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