Middle managers are unquestionably a vital part of the workforce and help the organization in implementing its vision, culture, and strategy to its employees. However, despite recurring signs that there is a dearth of middle management level across industries, the situation hasn’t improved. Furthermore, limited attempts have been made to comprehend and understand the unique set of challenges, trends, and factors that govern middle management hiring. A recent TimesJobs survey of 755 HR managers, however, does precisely that, it reveals insightful findings about the Indian middle management.
Following are the highlights of the same:
• Middle Management Hiring: Over the last year, 40% of the respondents reported a rise in the hiring of middle management executives, 28% said that the hiring has stable, whereas 32% reported a decrease in the same.
• Job Attraction for Middle Managers: While the most HR managers (44%) believe that middle managers are attracted by a challenging work profile, 32% said that learning and development opportunities are the top choices, 12% reported the same to be money and 8% said that the designation was the biggest draw.
• Middle Management Engagement: 40% of the respondents believe that rewards and recognition keep middle managers engaged, and another 40% are of the view that a challenging work profile is the biggest engagement factor. The remaining are 'authority' (18%) and money (2%).
• Challenges in Middle Management Hiring: The biggest challenge in hiring middle managers is getting the right managerial skills (72%), getting the right domain skills (20%) and managing salary expectations (8%).
• Skill Gap in Middle Management: While 68% of the respondents see a skill gap in the middle management, 44% feel that the skill gap has widened over the last three years. However, 32% did not witness a skill gap, and another 32% feel like it has diminished. Only 24% feel that it has been the same.
• Bridging the Skill Gap: While 36% of the respondents plan to use in-house training to bridge the skill gap in middle managers, while 32% said that job rotation is the preferred method. Furthermore, 30% reported virtual training programs and only 2% opted for specialized courses.
The findings reveal interesting information regarding middle managers in India. While a few results are in line with other overarching trends, like rewards and recognition being a top engagement factor and a challenging work profile being a top attraction, some are also unique. For example, the fact that 72% of the respondents believe that leadership skills are lacking and 68% report a skill gap shows the acute shortage of capable leaders who can assume middle-level managerial positions. Organisations need to build a sustainable talent pipeline to ensure that the challenge is nipped in the bud, and doesn’t become an insurmountable issue in the future. Furthermore, adequate learning and development interventions need to be undertaken, internal or external, to help potential leaders grow into well-rounded leaders. To conclude, the middle management of today and tomorrow require sufficient resources, attention, and effort from senior leaders to develop their potential, and contribute to the growth of the organization to the best of their ability.