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43% of managers feel optimistic about their organisation's prospects for next year, yet optimism about the UK's economic performance as a whole remains low, at just 8%, according to the annual end of year research from the Chartered Management Institute (CMI).
The Future Forecast report reveals that restructuring of the public finances, the price of energy and the instability of the Euro are the top external factors expected to have a damaging impact on organisations in 2012.
Managers' top priorities for the year ahead include controlling costs, managing performance, increasing turnover, developing strategic partnerships and developing their people.
The public sector experienced a challenging 2011 and it is clear that difficult circumstances are set to continue, with 69% of managers anticipating redundancies in 2012 and restructuring ranked as the number one management priority in the sector. Poor morale is cited as a concern by 65% of public sector managers, compared to 36% of private sector managers and 38% in the not-for-profit sector.
Managers have grave concerns over their organisations' people capabilities, 43% do not believe their organisation has the right people to fulfil business objectives in 2012, a figure unchanged from a year ago.
For organisations that do not have the right people, the biggest problem is a shortage of key skills. Poor leadership, insufficient experience and a general lack of manpower are also substantial concerns. Managers' own priorities for professional development include strategic decision making, coaching and mentoring, negotiating and influencing, project management, performance management and change management.
Job insecurity remains high with 39% of managers feeling insecure. Unsurprisingly, public sector managers are most pessimistic about their continued employment. When asked about their ability to secure a new job in 2012, only 37% of all managers believe they could find comparable employment within three months.
Christopher Kinsella, CMI Chief Executive, commented "it is obvious from our research that 2011 has been yet another difficult year for managers so it comes as no surprise, that we are not seeing an optimistic forecast for 2012. We started 2011 with high hopes that the economic situation was improving and workplaces would start to feel the effects of recovery. Sadly, it's evident that this year has been one of the most difficult UK managers have ever had to face. There are areas where organisations can continue to develop and we would urge managers to particularly focus on their people capabilities and ensuring their businesses have the right people, with the right skills set to fulfil their business objectives in the New Year."
"The quality of staff and managers will be vital to building success in 2012 and will be crucial if organisations are to survive the tough times and succeed next year. Business leaders have highlighted they will need to be actively looking for alternative ways to continue to develop the skills of their staff, despite restricted budgets and we would look to help them with developing their skills through the services we offer."