U.S. Middle Managers’ Satisfaction with Employers Drops, Accenture Survey Finds

Believe Companies Are Mismanaged, See Few Prospects for Advancement

NEW YORK; Oct. 20, 2005 – Middle managers in the United States are increasingly dissatisfied with their current organizations, find their organizations mismanaged and see few prospects for advancement, according to the findings of a survey released today by Accenture.

The survey of 225 U.S. middle managers found that respondents’ satisfaction with their current organizations has declined significantly since 2004, when Accenture conducted a similar survey. While two-thirds (67 percent) of middle managers in last year’s survey reported that they were extremely or very satisfied with their organizations, fewer than half (48 percent) of respondents in this year’s survey were as positive about their organizations, with one-third (33 percent) of respondents describing their organizations as “mismanaged.”

When asked to describe their companies’ performance in a number of areas, few respondents were positive. Only 28 percent rated the way their organizations manage prospects for advancement as good or excellent, and only 31 percent said their companies were good or excellent at helping them communicate bad news. In fact, only about one-third of respondents reported that their companies were good or excellent at managing: compensation, flexible work arrangements, communications between supervisors and subordinates, and training and development (33 percent, 34 percent, 37 percent and 37 percent, respectively).

“The decline of employee loyalty, particularly at the critical middle manager level, should be a growing source of concern for senior management, and the fact that middle managers think their companies are mismanaged is particularly alarming,” said Ed Jensen, a senior executive in Accenture’s Human Performance practice. “These managers are frustrated about a broad set of concerns and see only a limited future at their current organizations. When the negatives about a company trump the positives, the balance between deciding to stay or leave will tip in the wrong direction.”

When asked about the most frustrating aspects of their jobs, the greatest number of respondents — 47 percent — cited compensation issues, followed by balancing work and personal time, the feeling that they do the bulk of the work and don’t receive the appropriate credit, and having no clear career path (chosen by 40 percent, 38 percent and 35 percent, respectively).

At the same time, nearly six in 10 (58 percent) of the respondents said they would consider changing jobs. In addition, three in 10 (30 percent) of the respondents said they are currently looking for another job, compared with only 21 percent of respondents in last year’s survey. When asked about their motivation for seeking another job, respondents most often cited better pay or benefits (selected by 29 percent of respondents), lack of prospects for advancement (22 percent) and better conditions or job prospects (21 percent).

"Competition has toughened for almost every organization, and now each one must build the right capabilities to deliver high performance,” said Jensen. “Reinventing the role of middle managers will be critical to this effort, particularly as increasing numbers of employees look toward retirement. Creating positive environments for employees to succeed will be a critical factor for winning in the marketplace."

The online survey, conducted in August 2005 by ICR (International Communications Research) on behalf of Accenture, entailed querying 225 full-time workers who consider themselves to be middle managers.

About Accenture
Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company. Committed to delivering innovation, Accenture collaborates with its clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments. With deep industry and business process expertise, broad global resources and a proven track record, Accenture can mobilize the right people, skills and technologies to help clients improve their performance. With more than 123,000 people in 48 countries, the company generated net revenues of US$15.55 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2005. Its home page is www.accenture.com.


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