Lack of management training stalls UK business growth

Almost two-thirds (64 per cent) of employers agree weaknesses in leadership and management in the UK are holding back company growth, according to new research* published by Cranfield School of Management and learndirect.

Despite this the research – published in a report called The new vocational currency: investing for success – shows only four in ten companies offer their staff training in these crucial skills.

The report examines the value of vocational qualifications to both individuals and employers and also looks at the issue of management skills in the UK, drawing on new research from You Gov.

It found more than two-thirds (68 per cent) of UK employers agree weaknesses in leadership and management skills are also preventing employees from reaching their full potential.

As a result the report recommends making management skills mandatory for all Apprenticeship frameworks at level 3 and above.

Dr Emma Parry, Reader in Human Resource Management at Cranfield School of Management and report co-author said: “This research clearly shows that employers agree a lack of management training is having a negative impact on business growth and yet only four in ten companies offer their staff training in these crucial skills. It is clear from these results that vocational qualifications are strong currency in the UK employment market.

“British businesses have an opportunity to broaden their talent pool by recruiting more people who hold vocational qualifications and may have been overlooked in the past due to not having a degree. This research shows that employers regard vocational qualifications positively, so now has never been a matter time to study a vocational qualification.”

Gill Craven, Director of Service Development at learndirect, said: “There’s no doubt the government focus on vocational qualifications, particularly Apprenticeships, is the right one to build a skills base for the UK which is fit to compete in the twenty-first century.

“However, the issue of poor leadership and management is holding back the success of both companies and individuals.  With the huge amounts of public funds being channelled into Apprenticeships it makes sense to tackle this issue as well and make management a mandatory element at level 3 and above.”

Other recommendations in the report include:

  • Improving the status of vocational education and training in the UK – for example through a national government-led campaign and introducing a new duty on schools to provide information, advice and guidance on the full range of vocational options
  • The Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) to work with industry bodies to improve UK management – including ensuring new government ministers and their shadows receive management training

The report is available at:




*All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 554 Senior decision makers. Fieldwork was undertaken between 13th – 17th May 2013.  The survey was carried out online.

About learndirect

  • learndirect is the UK’s leading online learning provider
  • Over the last 10 years, we’ve worked with more than 75,000 organisations – large and small, public and private – to help them develop the skilled staff they need to thrive
  • We’ve already helped more than 4 million people transform their lives with new skills, so contributing to national workforce productivity
  • We’ve delivered hundreds of thousands of qualifications with high success rates and robust quality processes
  • 10,000 people log on and learn with us every day, and our learner satisfaction percentage is consistently in the upper 90s

To arrange an interview with learndirect please contact the press office on T: 0114 291 5680 or E:


About Cranfield School of Management

Cranfield School of Management is one of Europe’s leading university management schools renowned for its strong links with industry and business.  It is committed to providing practical management solutions through a range of activities including postgraduate degree programmes, management development, research and consultancy.

For more information, to arrange an interview with Dr Emma Parry, please contact Emily Reed, Media Relations Office, Cranfield School of Management on T: +44 (0) 1234 754348 or E: