Skip to main content Skip to main menu

Our website uses cookies to enhance your browsing experience and to collect information about how you use this site to improve our service to you. By not accepting cookies some elements of the site, such as video, will not work. Please visit our Cookie Policy page for more information on how we use cookies.

Leading the Way

Investing in Management Development for SME Productivity and Growth

The report highlights how essential management skills are to business productivity, resilience and survival. Research has shown firms that invest in management development grow faster, survive longer and innovate more effectively, and improving management skills is seen by the OECD as a key lever in improving Irish SMEs’ productivity performance.

Minster for Further Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris TD, and Minister of State of State for Business, Employment and Retail, Damien English, TD, both welcomed the publication of the report.

Find the full report 'Leading the Way' at

The main findings from the report are:

(1)        SME owners and managers must cease thinking of management development as merely important and start seeing it as a top strategic priority and an investment in the future of their business.

(2)        While flexibility is important, given managers’ busy schedules, research routinely finds that formal approaches to both training and strategising yield the biggest benefits: ‘Time = Commitment’.

(3)        There is already a huge range of management training programmes available in Ireland, many of them partly funded and supported by the State … but only a fraction of Irish SMEs are taking advantage of this. More need to connect and participate.

The report makes six core recommendations, including the following:

While there is much that the State can do to make training programmes more accessible, SME managers must actively seek out the supports they need, whether it be from their business representative organisation or their local LEO, for example. Appendix 6 of the report provides a list of available courses, and this can be used as a resource by SMEs.


An Implementation Group will be set up shortly. The first action will be to communicate the findings of the report to SMEs across the country and include them in the implementation plan in an integrated and active way. A huge range of management training courses is currently available and detailed in this report. SME owners and managers are encouraged to get involved.

About the EGFSN

The Expert Group on Future Skills Needs (EGFSN) advises the Irish Government on the current and future skills needs of the economy and on other labour market issues that impact on Ireland’s enterprise and employment growth. It has a central role in ensuring that labour market needs for skilled workers are anticipated and met.

The Enterprise Strategy, Competitiveness and Evaluations Division within the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment provides the EGFSN with research and analysis support.

Contact Expert Group on Future Skills Needs at

Contact Press Office, Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation at

Contact Press Office, Department of Education and Skills at