UK managers in mid-life crisis wondering what might have been


Managers across the UK are having a ‘mid-life crisis’ with many regretting their career choice and wondering “what could have been”.

Research by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) found more than one in three (38%) often regret the fact that they didn’t take the chances when they had them. 

More than two-thirds (68%) said they should have asked more questions and many wish they had challenged their seniors.

When asked what restricts their ability to get their work done, managers cited bureaucracy (26%) as the biggest problem, with 23% claiming they are held back by a lack of resources. 

Junior and mid-level managers are more inclined to blame stress (10%) than senior managers and directors (7%) and more female managers claim they fail to achieve their potential because of a lack of internal support (21% compared to 14% of male managers).

Top of the list of things that helped managers to develop their career was “developing experience within one organisation” (17%).  External influences such as the achievement of professional qualifications (14%) and support from networking or mentoring (13%) also rated highly.

Many managers admitted they are not keeping up-to-date with current market trends with less than half agreeing they are well informed about budgetary or financial management issues (48%). Only six out of 10 agree that they are aware of management best practice.

Jo Causon, director, marketing and corporate affairs at the CMI, said the ability to achieve their potential was clearly at the forefront of individuals’ minds.

“However, it remains a concern that so many admit they are failing to keep up-to-date with vital skills and market trends,” she said. “If individuals and organisations are to prosper, this situation must be addressed.”

The CMI has created a freely downloadable resource to help managers build their knowledge base.  It contains a series of management checklists, diagnostic tools and general advice.

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