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Survey reveals decrease in training for mid-level managers

Almost half (48 per cent) of Australia’s mid-level managers say the training and development they now receive has decreased compared to the early years of their career.

According to a survey by recruitment company Hays of 1,516 Australian and New Zealand employees and employers, only 18 per cent said training and development had increased by the time they reached mid-management level. The final 34 per cent said it remained the same.

Yet employees say training and development is the second most important factor for them at work (selected by 78 per cent), behind only work-life balance (85 per cent) and ahead of a manager who cares about their staff (76 per cent). Meanwhile on-the-job learning is considered the most important method of upskilling for 85 per cent, followed by formal training or courses paid by their employer (41 per cent).

“When we consider that middle managers will one day shape an organisation, driving it through the hard times and helping it prosper in the good, I firmly believe that learning and development should be ongoing throughout a person’s career, not end at a certain point,” said Nick Deligiannis, managing director of Hays in Australia and New Zealand.

“Ideally employers should develop their middle managers’ technical skills, cultivate their knowledge and understanding of the organisation’s goals, foster a belief in what the organisation is trying to achieve and help advance their leadership skills.”

This could include:

  • Opportunities to lead other teams or departments outside your functional skill base for a set period of time
  • Joining team or group projects across the organisation
  • Being given senior-level projects to manage
  • Participating in offsite meetings where you work on the business rather than in the business
  • Formal training for a set number of days every year

“By being included in more senior level business discussions and receiving the opportunity to contribute ideas, middle managers can experience rapid on-the-job growth,” said Nick. “Mentoring is also important, as is the continuing development of emotional intelligence and soft skills.”

Finally, Nick notes that development won’t happen without intention: “Map your career path and know where you want to be in the next two, five and 10 years. Know what skills you need to reach these goals so that you keep your career development on track.”

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