Accenture Finds Middle Manager Dissatisfaction Globally

January 9, 2007 ( - A survey from Accenture of middle managers in nine countries found less than four in ten (39%) said they are 'very' or 'extremely' satisfied with working in their current organizations.

In fact, one in five (20%) of respondents said they were specifically dissatisfied with their current organization, according to an Accenture news release. Thirty-percent of middle managers surveyed – the largest share of respondents – described their organizations as ‘mismanaged.’

Almost one-fourth (23%) of respondents said they were currently looking for a job in another organization, with the primary motivations being the lack of opportunity for advancement in their current organization (25%) and better conditions at another job (22%). Accenture found middle managers in the US, Spain, Germany, and Australia expressed higher levels of dissatisfaction than other respondents, the news release said.

Insufficient compensation was cited as the most frustrating aspect of their current job by 44% of respondents. Other frustrations cited included:

  • Doing all the work and not getting credit for it – 43%,
  • Trying to balance work and personal time – 35%, and
  • Having no clear career path – 35%.

Respondents generally gave their organizations high marks, such as ‘good’ or ‘the best possible,’ for how they manage working conditions (53%) and benefits (48%). However, only around one-third of respondents reported that their companies were good or better at managing compensation (30%), flexible work arrangements (34%), helping them communicate bad news (35%) or prospects for advancement (35%).

“For the most part, middle managers care deeply about the future of their organizations and their roles in that future, but they are, to a certain extent, the ‘frozen middle,'” said Peter Cheese, managing director of Accenture’s Human Performance practice, in the news release. “Their success depends on having a sense of security and a belief that executives understand their concerns and are taking some action. In leading companies, senior managers address these issues through clear communications, direct engagement and performance goals linked to rewards and career progression.”

The survey was conducted online in September 2006 by ICR (International Communications Research) on behalf of Accenture among 1,413 full-time workers in the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Germany, Australia, China, Singapore and Malaysia who consider themselves to be middle managers.

Another recent Accenture survey found middle managers were also frustrated with the time they spend researching information and the usefulness of the information they find (See Middle Managers Struggle to Find Useful Data ).