Under-qualified, time poor and stressed – research about managers tells a depressing story

In this week’s Insights Media Insider newsletter we include links to a few research reports highlighting managers and manager development (see the newsletter here). Here we pull out the manager related data – we hope you find it useful.

On LinkedIn, Mind Tools’ head of data and insights Gent Ahmetaj, who shared this data point from some forthcoming research:

  • 50% of the 2,001 managers surveyed said they didn’t receive any support when they transitioned into becoming managers

This is pretty shocking but in a sense, it’s not actually new news – most of us already know that the support given to first time managers is woefully inadequate. The Chartered Management Institute published research last year into the problem of what it calls ‘accidental managers’ – people in management roles who haven’t received the appropriate training. How many people fall into this category? A whopping 82%, according to the report. Plus, 52% of managers don’t hold any management or leadership qualifications.Dictionary definition of the word Research.

How HR can support the overworked middle manager

This survey of 103 UK managers shows that 66% of managers feel stressed some of the time and 9% all of the time. Just under a quarter (24%) are actively looking for other jobs. The research shows that managers spend 44% of their time in meetings and 13% of their time doing admin tasks. Unsurprisingly, 61% say they don’t have time in a typical week to complete the tasks they need to do. When it comes to their development needs, conflict resolution is the number one priority for training, followed by project management and delegation. These training needs tell the story of what needs to change for managers to be able to do their jobs properly.

These findings are supported by research in 2023 from McKinsey that shows managers spend 49% of their time on non-managerial work. But the areas in which managers say they deliver the most value are strategy focused work and talent and people management – this accounts for half of their time. Interestingly, the number one factor that has the most negative effect on a manager’s role is organisational bureaucracy (44%) followed by underperforming employees (26%).

Standout stats

  • 82% of people in management roles who haven’t received the appropriate training
  • 75% of people managers who feel stressed some or all of the time
  • 52% of managers who don’t hold any management or leadership qualifications
  • 50% of managers didn’t receive any support when they transitioned into becoming managers
  • 49% – the amount of time managers spend on non-managerial work.


Read more Research digests from Insights Media.