Britain's business managers are younger and better qualified than their predecessors, and they work longer, according to a recent survey conducted by the British Institute of Management.
The report is based on a sample of 1,000 members of the management institute who work in the private and nationalized sectors of industry. According to the "British Manager in Profile," managers have a high level of job satisfaction, regard professional standards as important, and oppose government interference in business.
Ability and success, and not an elite social background or academic history, appear to determine the careers of most managers. Two-thirds had some kind of professional education. One-third had been to a university. But only 2 percent of those reaching management status are women.
Most of the 1,000 managers questioned in the survey appeared to favor a code of ethics. More than 40 percent of them work 50 hours a week, as opposed to the 40 hours of manual workers and the 35 hours of office employees. Although managers generally have a much longer working day and take home paper work, many have company "perks" in the form of subsidized cars, special catering facilities , and financial emoluments -- facts not mentioned in the survey.
Yet other surveys show that British managers' salaries are often well below those of their European or US counterparts.
The institute's latest report shows that managers think the trade unions have too much power, although the inquiry shows that most managers in the nationalized industries and local authority services are union members. Increasing layoffs among managers, including those in the private sector of industry, have tended to make them more interested in belonging to organizations like the Association of Scientific, Technical, and Managerial Staffs, a group affiliated with the Trades Union Congress and closely concerned with improving severance pay.
Though many managers appear to believe in some form of joint consultation with employees, only 4 percent are in favor of workers sitting in at board level discussions. The British Confederation of Industry, which represents a large section of United Kingdom employers, is also firmly opposed to Trades Union Congress proposals for worker involvement in management decisions.
While the government and employers are strongly resisting the TUC's demands for employee participation, European Community legislation improving workers' rights over consultation is slowly forcing British management to consider giving workers a greater say in the running of commercial enterprises.