The report, Training for Managers, published today by the Institute of Management and the Economic and Social Research Council, calls for all managers to undertake at least some training each year as the first step towards establishing national training targets.
The survey reveals that Britain's managers receive an average of five days' work time and three days' own time training a year - equivalent to a quarter of an hour for every working day. However, many have little opportunity to go on courses.
Half of the more than 2,000 managers surveyed admitted that they had either too little or far too little training, with one in eight saying they received none at all in 1991. A third said their organisations did not have formal training policies.
Managers are convinced of the business case for more training. Eighty-nine per cent felt the business environment was changing so fast that they needed more training than previously, while 81 per cent said they would be more effective if they received more.
But the survey also reveals that quality as well as quantity needs to be improved. Although 60 per cent of managers said their most recent training had been very helpful, the rest regarded it as at best of only limited use.
The report also confirms suspicions that older managers receive less training than their younger counterparts. Those under 40 had an average of six days' work time training, including courses, seminars and conferences, while those aged over 50 often received little - despite 87 per cent agreeing that older managers should receive as much training as others.
The amount of training given also depends on the size of the organisation. Managers where there were fewer than 25 employees were the least likely to have undertaken training in work time and most likely to be negative about it.
Roger Young, director-general of the Institute of Management, said the research provided the base on which to build management training policy for the rest of the decade.
'Managers receive more training than they did five years ago, but it is not enough to meet business needs,' he said. 'Every organisation should have a formal training policy covering the needs of all staff.'
He added that managers should do more for themselves and not just rely on their employers to provide training.
Professor Peter Warr, the report's author, said: 'While the overall findings of the report are welcome, it is disturbing that older managers are receiving less training than their younger colleagues.
'These older managers are at least as valuable as their younger colleagues, yet they are being left behind.'Reuse content