43 per cent of UK managers anticipate that their training budgets will be slashed again next year resulting in business-damaging skills shortages, according to new research from the Chartered Management Institute (CMI), the UK’s leading body for managers and leaders.

Reacting to the findings, Ruth Spellman, CMI chief executive said: “The tough economic conditions experienced in 2010, combined with the knock on effects of aggressive deficit reduction measures outlined in the Comprehensive Spending Review, have already forced business leaders to look at yet more ways to save money. Unfortunately, training budgets are often the first to suffer.

“Business leaders will need to embrace the concept of ‘training on a shoestring’ in 2011. Doing nothing is not an option; they need to consider alternative ways to continue to develop the skills of their staff, or risk failing to put them in the best possible position to take advantage of the upturn when it comes. What businesses need is a cost effective way of continuing to offer training that can be accessed quickly and easily, as and when support is required.”

To keep UK plc on the right track, CMI is urging employers to ensure staff training doesn’t suffer in the face of budget restrictions by looking to cost-effective online training and e-learning resources. Online training has become increasingly popular with employees this year. A survey of 2,000 UK workers, conducted by CMI in March revealed that 35 per cent of staff would rather go online when looking to brush up on their skills – second only to seeking advice from trusted colleagues (36 per cent).

Ruth Spellman added: “Our worry is that by failing to offer adequate opportunities for personal development, bosses risk losing top talent, deepening the already low levels of employee engagement and creating skills shortages at a time when UK plc most needs a skilled workforce to help steer it towards recovery. Businesses cannot afford to lose another 12 months of training and development in 2011.”