Training & Development: Why Wait?

As our economy recovers and continues to show signs of improvement, we are in a situation where job vacancies have returned to pre-recession levels. This is excellent news; however, there are still issues which are impacting directly upon individual’s career potential, and business growth.

According to the UK Commission for Employment and Skills, the level of skills shortages is rising twice as fast as vacancies. The Commission, who advises the government, interviewed 90,000 employers who reported 559,600 job vacancies in England, up 45% from 2009. However, when it came to jobs where companies could not get the right person to fill the position, these skill shortage vacancies rose from 63,100 to 124,800 over the same period.

In previous articles we have discussed the issues facing organisations in respect of training and development needs, exploring the need for companies to invest, not only as a means to drive quality throughout their organisations, but as a way to also stimulate the economy. In our article The Importance of Training and Development, we asked, do we owe it to ourselves to be more adamant about our training and development needs? From the information provided by the Commission for Employment and Skills it would appear that we do. However, this is not only an organisational issue restricted to corporate management, it is also an individual issue as we are not investing in our career progression.

In an article for the Harvard Business Review Blog Network, Jack Zenger revealed research which he had undertaken for his company. It showed that from 17,000 worldwide leaders participating in their training programs, the average age for an individual to undertake their first leadership training programme was 42, which is staggering when you consider that many of these people would have been managing for years prior to their training. This concurs, broadly, with research showing that only 1 in 5 managers holds a Management and Leadership Qualification (MLQ).

Zenger’s research also indicated that the average age within these organisations to become a supervisor was 30, and that individuals would stay in this role for around nine years. This indicates that the vast majority did not receive any leadership training whilst they were supervisors. Is it any wonder that there are issues with organisational management and leadership, such as generalization of roles and underperformance?

It is clear that these issues are not just restricted to the UK, but affect companies worldwide. There is an under investment in professional development, and where investment is made available, more often than not, it is held back until later in an individual’s career, which in turn impacts upon succession planning within the company, and could relate to underperformance holistically. Therefore, why are we holding back on investing in our professional managers and leaders?

It is imperative that companies start good training and development early, as individuals progress in their careers, training and development programmes should develop along with their changing circumstances. Where a company is not willing to make such a commitment, individuals should take responsibility for their own professional development, which will not only increase confidence and competence in the workplace, but also improve employability.

Quality education driving development is why ET&C, in conjunction with CMI, offer qualifications suitable for everyone from aspiring managers through to CEO’s. CMI is the only Awarding Body offering management and leadership qualifications that cover such a wide range of managerial positions.

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