Senior leaders risk lagging behind the rest of the UK workforce in training and development

Senior leaders risk being left behind in the learning and development space, according to findings from new research by City & Guilds Group business, ILM.

Learning Insights, a survey of more than 1000 employers globally, found that fewer than a quarter (23%) of UK employers plan to focus their training and development activity on senior leaders in the next 12 months despite a third of employers saying that some of the biggest skills gaps are among this demographic.

Unsurprisingly then perhaps, the research found just one in five employers in the UK believe that the current training for senior leaders is effective, yet employers admitted that less than half of all senior leaders in the UK are involved in the strategy, activation or evaluation of learning and development programmes.

Kirstie Donnelly, Managing Director at City & Guilds Group, says: “The UK’s workplaces are changing: new technologies and new ways of working compete with the challenges of an unpredictable economic and political landscape.

“Our research shows that there is an urgent need among UK employers to review and improve their leadership training provision. Businesses require leaders at every level with a wide variety of skills, some of which can only be mastered on the job, to secure a competitive advantage.”

Senior leaders say that the best way of improving take-up of learning and development programmes is by personalising them to specific needs and interests, according to the research. They also say that more input from the business in developing learning and development programmes is key to their success.

Kirstie Donnelly added: “It’s clear that learning and development must keep pace with the requirements of an ever changing workplace. Leadership training is no longer about developing the people at the top - leaders exist at all levels of an organisation, so training needs to be flexible to reflect this change. Skills training has to meet the needs of many different people at different stages in their careers, to ensure that we build the future of leaders today and tomorrow.”

Jason Couch Senior Integrated Account Manager Chiesi Ltd.  - ILM Level 2 Aspiring Manager course.

“I needed to gain more experience in performing the role of Regional Business Manager and a better understanding about what it would entail, so the course was ideally suited for me. The beauty of the course means that I can choose when to study because it is remote, online learning: meaning that it becomes part of your life rather than taking it over.

“The course is very accessible and you are well supported throughout it, so at no point do you feel like you are alone. There is always someone on the end of the phone or email to provide support while you are learning.”