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The rising youth unemployment figures highlight the difficulties faced by young people in finding work. A recent CMI survey asked managers to pick the three factors which have the biggest impact on their decision-making when recruiting young people. Three out of five point to academic qualifications and half focus on an individual’s ambition. This suggests that managers are often looking at characteristics that demonstrate an individual’s potential, rather than fully fledged skills themselves. Young people need careers advice that highlights the importance of factors such as personal presentation and displaying enthusiasm for work when applying for jobs.

Getting a management position is set to become more competitive. Specific management qualifications can help you gain the edge over the competition.

Many graduates have technical qualifications (accountancy, engineering, marketing etc) but when it comes to management qualifications, far fewer have sought the opportunity to become formally accredited.

It’s a problem, because as graduates emerge from university and as their individual experiences grow, so too does the scope and breadth of their roles and responsibilities. They move into management positions and are expected to inspire and motivate, manage budgets and implement business plans designed to achieve an organisation’s strategic goals.

But questions remain:

  • Do they really have the requisite management and leadership skills?
  • Where can they turn to for advice?
  • What leadership skills matter right now?

Many find themselves taking on roles with little in the way of professional development to help build the skills needed and quickly recognise that their degree is only a starting point. There are, after all, elements of management and leadership that can, and should, be learned on-the-job. For managers to feel confident and be successful in the long-term, experience should go hand-in-hand with continuous professional development. It should not come by accident.

Cynics may argue that with just one in five managers professionally qualified in the UK, a lack of qualifications hasn’t caused any harm. Why then, do 64% of employers tell us that qualifications will become the important differentiator in the next five years?

And why do one in four managers currently use holiday time to develop their skills. The answer is simple – we are living in a tough economic environment and skills development is increasingly being seen as a career passport.

Financial benefits of taking further qualifications

Recent research undertaken by the CMI explored a wide range of benefits for undertaking management qualifications. For one thing, greater financial rewards came out as a significant incentive, with over half of managers agreeing that professional management qualifications offered the potential for higher earnings.

But it isn’t just the view of the management community. Data produced for the Government shows that individuals stand to boost their earnings by achieving ‘professional status’. In today’s money terms, an individual’s career earnings can be boosted by £152,000 simply through membership of a professional body and acquiring a postgraduate degree or professional qualifications. Individuals with professional recognition enjoy a 37% earnings premium over their colleagues.

It seems that employers are also attracted to the ‘portability’ offered by management qualifications. Increasingly the emphasis is on demonstrating a broad-based management knowledge, one that is applicable in a variety of contexts because employers want individuals capable of managing change and taking on broad new roles.

Organisations should also play a key role in helping people ‘upskill’ through their investment into training and development, as well as creating a flexible and supportive environment which allows individuals to balance their studies with workplace commitments. So you shouldn’t be afraid to ask for support from any potential employer; doing so will offer them a clear sign you are serious about your career and, whilst it may benefit you, the knock-on effect on company performance will be an added incentive.

Courses which CMI offer include:

For more information on these qualifications visit the CMI.

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