Magazine article Management Today

No Room in the Middle

Magazine article Management Today

No Room in the Middle

Article excerpt

No room in the middle

Walk into any Job Centre and what strikes one is the human talent on display. Many of those seeking vacancies are highly qualified graduates, with years of practical management experience.

This pool of unemployed talent is growing fast courtesy of the information revolution as much as the recession. More powerful computer networks allow senior managers to dispense with the services of whole layers of middle managers.

Thousands have already gone at such august firms as British Telecom and BP. The same story is being repeated up and down the ranks of the FT 100 Index. Worse still for the victims, the jobs will not simply reappear in an economic upturn.

The real tragedy is the huge waste of this talent and experience, not to mention the loss of tax revenues and the extra cost of social security.

But tapping this talent through the '90s will require a whole new approach by industry, government and the redundant middle managers themselves. For the managers, it will require a new flexibility in thinking about their future.

Traditional career patterns will have to be ditched in favour of part-time working, freelance activity, and for those with the necessary entrepreneurial ability, their calling will be to set up their own business. Some will have to set their sights at a lower level or as one management guru puts it, they |must think back to their professions and look for jobs as professionals in their functional area'.

For large firms, IBM's approach must become the norm. In dealing with managers who may no longer be needed, the computer giant has recognised that they have unique skills, experience and energy that can be tapped, albeit on a part-time basis. …

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