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Future leaders’ progression in jeopardy

A new survey by Alliance Manchester Business School (AMBS) has found that four four in five managers currently feel that they face a barrier to their career progression. More than half of respondents would like their employers to provide additional support by funding professional development courses or creating the time for employees to attend them.

Four in five (80%) managers currently feel that they face a barrier to their career progression at their current place of employment, according to a new survey commissioned by Alliance Manchester Business School (AMBS).1

The survey of 500 employees in middle and upper management roles revealed that a lack of support from an employer or a line manager (29.4%) was perceived as the most common barrier to their progression.[2] This was followed by a lack of confidence to push for a promotion or new role (21.4%) and a lack of time to upskill outside of work hours (21.2%).

When it comes to facilitating further progression, more than half of respondents (53.2%) would like their employer to provide additional support by funding professional development courses or providing the time for employees to attend them.[3]

Professor Bryan Lukas, Academic Director of Executive Education at AMBS, said: “The value of professional development, especially around leadership skills, cannot be underestimated. It benefits individuals by giving them the skills and confidence they need to open up new opportunities in their workplace, and it benefits organisations by helping them to support the next generation of leaders.

“Unfortunately, some businesses do suffer from a skills gap in their management ranks, including the executive level, and pedestrian business performance is often the result. The good news is that all this is largely avoidable. Leadership skills can be acquired, and it’s good practice for organisations to put structured investment in place that empowers, encourages and enables employees to develop the professional skills they need. What this survey makes clear is that people do not always feel confident or supported as their leadership roles evolve, and that’s what we need to address.”

To meet this growing demand, AMBS has recently broadened its portfolio of short business courses to equip future leaders with the professional skills they need to lead their businesses successfully.

Devised by industry-leading academics, the 16 new courses, with more to follow, cover areas such as strategic planning, data and artificial intelligence (AI), leadership psychology, international business strategy and ESG leadership. Each course comes with a certificate attached, and any four courses can be combined into a Manchester Professional Diploma in Leadership.

Speaking about the courses, Bryan added: “People are increasingly appreciating the value of lifelong learning – the majority of those we surveyed said they are now more than ever likely to undertake a personal development course to further their skills. We know that time can be a challenge but delivering each of these courses in a bite-sized chunk of four days will ensure that they are accessible and open to everyone.

“Different leaders will need different skills and that’s why we’ve tailored our courses to offer leadership development in diverse fields, with the shared principle of delivering tangible, real-world benefits in the workplace. We’re looking forward to welcoming the next generation of industry leaders onto our programme and helping to knock down some of the skill barriers they face.”

You can find out more about the new short business courses at AMBS here and a sample of those available is listed below:

  • Psychology of Leading People – Understand motivations, influence and power in the workplace to better manage people for high performance.
  • Leading Major Projects – Discover strategies for managing the multifaceted nature of large, major projects.
  • International Business Strategy – Gain insight into how to develop a nuanced expansion strategy in overseas markets.
  • Data and AI for Leaders – Develop the skills needed to make impactful, data-driven decisions within your business and build your conceptual understanding of AI.
  • Leading Digital Transformation – Explore the role of people, strategy and technology, and understand the needs of your organisation for digital transformation to be implemented successfully.
  • Market Focused Strategic Planning – Take a deep dive into the tools and techniques used to make tactical and practical strategic decisions.
  • Finance for Non-Financial Leaders – Demystify the world of corporate finance helping you to use facts and figures to your advantage.
  • Decentralised Financial Technologies and Web3.0 Economy – Expand your knowledge of the crypto economy and understand the opportunities and risks for your business.
  • Managing Complex Business Challenges – Explore new approaches to governance, communication and engagement when navigating decision making and complex business situations.
  • Digital Marketing Essentials for Leaders – Develop a strategic understanding of digital marketing concepts to optimise your organisation’s performance.
  • Coping with Cyber Risk – This ‘live-run’ exercise comprises a safe-space experience of a cyber incident where you’ll learn how to rise about the technical babble of fear, uncertainty and doubt.
  • Leading and Implementing Innovation – Learn how to lead your organisation on a pathway to success through powerful new ideas.
  • Leading ESG and Sustainability – Discover the challenges that businesses face and explore the fast-increasing, ESG influenced transition to a net-zero and biodiverse economy.
  • Personal and Organisational Resilience – Build the skill set needed to anticipate and adapt to challenges within a high-pressured business environment.
  • Supply Chain Management – Discover the skills and frameworks needed to enhance supply chains to improve flexibility, cost and performance.
  • Managing the Customer Journey – Strengthen your competitive advantage by taking a strategic, transformative view on your customer’s journey and your interactions with them.

[1] Inverse proportion of respondents who said: ‘There are no barriers to my career progression at my current place of employment’.

[2] Combining those who said: ‘I feel I lack the support of my line manager or other senior colleagues’ or ‘I feel the lack of support from my current employer’.

[3] Combining those who said: ‘Fully funded professional development courses’ or ‘Time to attend professional development courses’.

About the survey

The survey polled 500 people in middle to upper management roles in the UK and was conducted by market research firm Censuswide between 24th February and 27th February. Censuswide abides by and employs members of the Market Research Society which is based on the ESOMAR principles.

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