Poor management costs UK business £84 billion a year

We are entering a new age of business leadership and management, and it is therefore imperative that we build a cadre of future leaders equipped to deal with the changing world of work. That’s the message from Leadership 2025, the latest in the REC’s series of Future of Jobs white papers published this week.

The UK currently has an estimated 2.4 million untrained ‘accidental managers’, and with poor management costing employers around £84 billion a year according to the OECD, it is time for a step change in how we prepare the next generation of leaders.

Meeting intensifying workforce challenges, such as inclusion and staff shortages, is one of the major priorities identified in the white paper. The UK’s skills needs are evolving rapidly, and leaders will need to take action to prepare for the future of work.

In a recent REC poll, one in four recruitment businesses flagged investing in future skills and business leaders as their main organisational priority. This latest white paper Leadership 2025 sets out a number of ways in which the UK business community can help build a strong base of future leaders and managers. These include: Understanding evolving leadership needs, and re-evaluating current management development programmes accordingly; Providing better guidance and support to individuals to give them the skills and confidence to progress into management roles; Driving inclusive search and recruitment practices at all levels to build a diverse pipeline of future leaders with the best talent available; Investing in training and developing a cadre of future leaders and project management professionals, equipped to steer organisations through a fast-changing business landscape; Recognising that enhanced leadership and management capability not only drives productivity but also improves business culture; Building better bridges between education and work through initiatives such as the REC’s Future of Jobs Ambassadors network.

Tom Hadley, Director of Policy and Campaigns at the Recruitment & Employment Confederation, said,

We are seeing the biggest shift in leadership and management needs for a generation. Employee expectations and workforce challenges are creating the need for more people-focused managers with strong communication skills and emotional intelligence. At the same time, Brexit is creating one of the biggest external challenges UK business leaders have ever faced, and the speed of technological change means that future leaders will need to see disruption as the new normal.

Addressing these leadership and management challenges is not only key to driving productivity, growth and job creation – it is also essential for changing business culture in a way that drives good work, inclusion and employee wellbeing. We need policymakers, employers, recruiters and individuals to come together to develop a diverse, agile, people-focused cohort of managers who can lead the UK into the future.

Debbie Dore, Chief Executive at the Association for Project Management, said,

The Recruitment and Employment Confederation’s latest Future of Jobs white paper ‘Leadership 2025’, rightly zeroes-in on the importance for UK plc of building a diverse talent pipeline of future leaders and project managers who are equipped to steer organisations through a fast-evolving business landscape. The many questions emerging from REC’s work on this subject are helping to draw into sharper focus the ever-growing importance of the project profession which contributes more than £156.5 billion of annual Gross Value Added (GVA) to the UK economy.

Interested in developing managers of the future? We recommend the Talent Management and Leadership Development Summit 2019.






Aphrodite is a creative writer and editor specialising in publishing and communications. She is passionate about undertaking projects in diverse sectors. She has written and edited copy for media as varied as social enterprise, art, fashion and education. She is at her most happy owning a project from its very conception, focusing on the client and project research in the first instance, and working closely with CEOs and Directors throughout the consultation process. Much of her work has focused on rebranding; messaging and tone of voice is one of her expertise, as is a distinctively unique writing style in my most of her creative projects. Her work is always driven by the versatility of language to galvanise image and to change perception, as it is by inspiring and being inspired by the wondrous diversity of people with whom paths she crosses cross!

Aphrodite has had a variety of high profile industry clients as a freelancer, and previously worked for a number of years as an Editor and Journalist for Prospects.ac.uk.

Aphrodite is also a professional painter.