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Mid-level staff lack management, communication skills

16 December 2010

Kiwi finance and accountancy middle management professionals lack capability in areas such as communication, management and interpersonal skills, according to a recent survey from global recruiters Robert Half International.

More than half (54 per cent) of survey respondents believed skills were lacking most in middle management, saying this level suffered the biggest gap. That’s compared with the 28% who said skills were lacking most at the entry or junior level.

To plug the skills shortage, 41 per cent of those surveyed said their companies were upgrading the skills of existing staff; another 23 per cent said their organisation was taking on temporary staff to help alleviate high workloads.

Robert Half New Zealand General Manager, Megan Alexander, said middle managers often have to rely on the technical skills of planning, logistics and organisation, and so may not have had the time or resources to develop more people-oriented skills.

“New Zealanders, by virtue of the size of our firms and organisations, typically have a broad skills set as our teams are smaller than our overseas business counterparts and we need to do a range of different tasks,” said Alexander.

“But we do find that some rise through the ranks of a company by relying on their technical ability rather than interpersonal or management skills. That’s something more senior people should try to address.

The hiring of contract employees has been taking place for much of the year, said Alexander. The two main reasons for this are: to help lighten workloads for valued permanent staff and also as companies remain in a wait-and-see mode on long-term hiring.

The Robert Half 2010 Workplace Survey questioned more than 1,600 finance, accounting, HR and executive-level managers from Australia, Singapore and Hong Kong and New Zealand, including 521 in this country. It was carried out in August this year.

*Respondents were able to select more than one option.


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