UNIT 5:A Manager Is Wanted
Integrated Skills Development
Passage Managers in Need
There has been an impressive change during the first 30 years after the end of World War II. Those three decades saw an unprecedented growth in the demand for management and professional staff in Britain. This demand sent the education system into top gear. Therefore nearly every pupil capable of reaching the standard for higher education could be assured of a place at university. It was this demand that ensured employment and promotion for virtually every person who could be engaged in a management career.
Management itself was coming of age, too. Organizations rapidly expanded the employment of specialist professional and managerial staff, often setting up completely new functions according to the management theorists. No longer was management merely a branch of another role; say, a works manager in charge of production, or an accountant with a small army of clerks. Instead, there was a carefully graded rank of junior and middle managers—not to mention all the service departments.
Technology also took a hand. New technologies brought about new skills. Computers replaced clerical jobs with large numbers of technical and managerial posts. More highly qualified junior staff were thus needed; and each could look forward to promotion prospects, which were often highly specialized and confined to a narrow technical function. Moreover, it was a period of economic growth. Companies found it no hardship to fund the management explosion. Indeed, it became a fundamental belief of many companies that steady business growth went hand-in-hand with rapid promotion available to all who showed the necessary merit.
One final factor at work was not so widely recognized. Two world wars and 20 years of depression had lowed the birthrate. The explosion in demand for highly qualified managers was faced with the lowest supply of young men entering the working population in this century. It was a good time to be young, intelligent and ambitious, and a whole generation has built its ideals and expectations on the growth in living standards that a managerial career could guarantee.
Putting the management explosion of 1960s, 1970s and early 1980s into context shows its enormous scale. During the 30 years from 1960s to 1980s, total employment in Britain grew by around 10%. Growth in managerial employment was nearly seven times as great and professional posts increased 11 times as fast. The ideal of full opportunities for all was deeply rooted in management thinking.
New Words and Expressions
a small army of
be assured of
be engaged (in)
come of age
go hand-in-hand with
not to mention
take a hand
At the dinner table one night, a young boy was telling his parents, who had not had much education, that his schooling made him smarter than people who had not gone to school.
"How is that?" asked his father.
"Well," said the boy, "I can reason better. For example, tell me how many chickens you think are in that dish."
"There are two," answered the father.
"I can prove there are three," said the boy. He pointed to the first chicken and said, "Do you agree that this is one?" The father agreed. The boy pointed to the other chicken and asked, "And this is two?" The father again agreed. "Don't one and two make three?" asked the boy.
"Wonderful," answered his father. "You are very clever. Now I'll serve the first chicken to your mother, serve the second to myself, and you can have the third. Is that all right with you?"