Vice-chancellors at universities across the UK lack leadership skills and are not empathetic towards staff, according to a survey outlined at the UPA annual conference.
The delegates heard Peter Melrose, a director with Hay McBer, say that 26 universities responded out of a total of 150 to a questionnaire sent to them asking about the competence of their vice-chancellors.
The results showed that vice-chancellors generally compared favourably with senior managers in other places of work, but scored poorly on their empathy with staff and their leadership skills. They were, however, above average in their perceived influence.
Melrose asked whether this was because "vice-chancellors' do not see an empathetic role as appropriate to their position".
Melrose took a straw poll among the 150 delegates at the conference and found the results broadly similar.