Managers ‘fed up and looking to quit their jobs’
By Peter Whitehead
The UK’s managers are disillusioned and ready to quit their jobs, according to today’s Management
Agenda report from leadership institute Roffey Park, its annual survey of 1,800 senior managers from
a range of companies.
The picture is of increasingly fed-up managers, with nearly half considering a move. The most
common reasons are a lack of promotion opportunities or prospects (49 per cent), poor management
(48 per cent) and a lack of appreciation (43 per cent).
Michael Jenkins, Roffey Park chief executive, says: “Our research seems to forecast a concerning
exodus of senior talent. It is these leaders who are needed as a constant in order to deliver the change
agenda that is foremost in everyone’s priorities. With all the short-term pressures caused by economic
conditions, retaining talent is not afforded sufficient attention.
“Providing opportunities for development and improving the quality of leadership appear as two key
actions that could forestall the potential loss of talent.”
The cost of losing talent
It could pay handsomely to try a bit harder to hang on to those managers. A study by Oxford
Economics and the insurer Unum suggests the cost of staff turnover in the UK is more than £4bn a
year, made up of spending on hiring and the time it takes a new recruit to reach full productivity.
Must try harder
This column has called several times for businesses to put far more effort into creating the skills they
complain are in such short supply – and my feedback suggests others agree.
The most recent example comes from Adrian Ringrose, chief executive of Interserve, a support
services and construction company, who has written about the importance of developing workplace
skills in good times as well as bad.
He says: “Out-of-work young adults have a challenging road ahead, as many lack the skills to get on to
the career ladder, and vocational routes are often underfunded and difficult to access. It would be
naïve to think that youngsters will be carried along by the tide of any recovery.”
He applauds government initiatives in support of apprenticeships and traineeships, and adds: “It is in
our interests to build and develop a better workforce that has skills that are relevant to the business
“We also believe that large businesses have a responsibility to support the communities in which they
operate, and we recognise that apprenticeships can help provide an alternative route to employment
for young people.”
Accountants’ pay rise
Accountants and finance professionals are optimistic about pay: a salary guide by recruiter Hays
shows 68 per cent expect their salaries to increase this year, with 18 per cent expecting an aboveinflation rise. Three-quarters of employers agree salaries will go up this year.
Mark Sheldon, director at Hays Senior Finance, says: “It is great that pay prospects are looking up, but
employers shouldn’t focus solely on salaries to attract, retain and motivate staff. It is the overall
package that determines whether a company secures the right talent – and demonstrating that the
role offers challenging work and a clear career path is vital.”
Coping with retirement
Is retirement “an inescapable descent into hopeless senility or a new phase where opportunities for
happiness and personal development beckon?” This is the question raised in the press release
accompanying a book called The Psychology of Retirement, by psychologist Derek Milne, that has
been on my desk at the FT for about a year.
I might now be able to answer that question myself as I begin my own retirement on Saturday after
working for the FT since 1987 and for other publications before that. It could be semi-retirement if
interesting projects come along but I will certainly find time for making music and playing sport – and
even reading that book on retirement. With luck, all this will put me in the “happiness and personal