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Clore Leadership and Arts Council England publish survey on leadership development

Survey shows strong demand for leadership development and need for greater encouragement from employers.

Survey shows strong demand for leadership development and need for greater encouragement from employers

  • 91% of respondents expect to undertake leadership development training in the next 5 years
  • Survey underlines a need for greater diversity amongst cultural leaders
  • Demand for key leadership skills in the context of reduced public funding for the arts
  • Survey identifies barriers to career progression into leadership roles

Clore Leadership and Arts Council England have welcomed an independent survey on the leadership development needs of the cultural sector in England.

Commissioned by Clore Leadership with funding from Arts Council England on behalf of the cultural sector, and researched and produced by Trends Business Research (TBR), the report gathered evidence and data from nearly 600 established and aspiring leaders in England’s arts and cultural sector.

The key stages of the research included a detailed search to identify leadership training available to the cultural sector, an online survey of almost 600 respondents, and a series of   in-depth interviews and discussions with a range of individuals and groups in the cultural sector.

The report’s findings focus on the current provision for the development of cultural leaders, as well as the factors, both positive and negative, that are most important in shaping career progression into leadership roles, with a particular focus on those under-represented in leadership.

Key findings from TBR’s survey:

  • There is a strong and continued demand for professional development for cultural leaders. 91% of respondents expect to undertake training to support their development as leaders in the next five years
  • Of the key barriers slowing progression into leadership roles, one of the most commonly noted is “lack of confidence in their ability”. The report suggests that employers should engage more actively in the development of their staff, with established leaders continuing to personally encourage and support younger staff, as well as creating more opportunities for staff development within their organisations
  • There is a need for greater diversity amongst cultural leaders, resulting in more role models for aspiring leaders. Ill-defined career paths in the arts and cultural sector are seen as a key barrier to leadership for the majority of respondents. This is particularly the case for BAME, disabled and younger respondents
  • Many of the skills that leaders consider as important for the future relate to the reduction in public funding: fundraising and philanthropy, strategic planning, lobbying and influencing

Welcoming the survey, Sir John Tusa, Chair of Clore Leadership, said, “Facing a more complex scene than ever before, the cultural world needs the best leadership possible at every level. Training and mentoring are not useful parts of leadership development; they are essential.”

Alan Davey, Chief Executive, Arts Council England, said: “One of the Arts Council’s main goals is to enable and encourage leadership development in the arts, museums and libraries because ultimately this will benefit the resilience of the sector as a whole. We welcome this report which clearly shows that there is demand for this work and provides us with vital information on what is needed to ensure that a diverse and appropriately skilled leadership can grow and thrive.”

For more information on the survey, please contact [email protected].

Themes Alumni Journeys Governance Hard Skills Inclusive Leadership Practices Sector Insights