The ONS has published the latest set of findings from the Management and Expectations Survey (MES). Management quality is important in understanding firm-level productivity. Introduced to improve our understanding of why UK productivity has not grown at historic trends in recent years the MES asks businesses about how they are managed, and how that has changed over time.

The latest findings include:

  • Our third survey of management practices saw higher average scores of 0.57 in 2023, up from 0.51 in 2020, on a scale from 0 (no implementation of structured management practices) to 1 (full implementation). This was driven by an improvement in the scores of firms with management scores below the median.
  • Firms in the services sector had higher average management scores (0.58) than firms in the production sector (0.54). Among services, firms in Information and Communication services had the highest average management score (0.64) while firms in Transportation and Storage services sector had the lowest average score (0.49)
  • Across all industries, firms with more employees continued to have higher management practice scores in 2023. Firms with more than 250 employees scored on average 0.68 compared to 0.66 for firms with 100-249, 0.64 for firms with 50-99 employees, 0.59 for firms with 20-49 employees, and 0.53 for firms with 10-19 employees.
  • Almost nine in ten (89%) of firms surveyed in 2023 report taking some action to improve management quality. Of those, 64% said they consulted employees about areas of improvement and 43% carried out formal training online, 42% in person and 13% participated in government training programs.
  • In 2023, firms with below median management scores were four times more likely to use little to no analysis to support business decisions.
  • One in six (17%) firms in the UK with 10 or more employees said they had tested or adopted some form of Artificial Intelligence. This was 36% for firms in the top decile of management practices distribution but only 3% for those in the bottom decile.