UK organisations are also the least likely to offer sufficient career planning to employees, according to a two-year study of management training at European companies by the Chartered Management Institute.
The survey questioned human resources managers in 700 organisations across different industries about the management training within their companies.
It found that although 74% of UK firms said they had a dedicated training budget, the average investment was only £1,085 per capita, representing less than half the amount spent by Germany, the country identified as the heaviest investor in management. Of the seven countries, only Romania spent less than the UK.
Indicating that employee development is still not always given the attention it deserves, only 47% of firms claimed to have an HR representative in the boardroom, compared to 69% in France and 74% in Norway.
"UK organisations need to do more to recognise the value of management development through better evaluation of its results," said Mary Chapman, chief executive of the Chartered Management Institute.
She said that unless business priorities are linked to training policies and practices for current and future leaders, there is a real danger that other European countries will leave the UK standing.
Petra Cook, head of public affairs at the Chartered Management Institute, added that the findings were relevant to IT managers.
"IT managers need generic management skills to be able to manage themselves and manage projects," she said. "UK managers are not getting the training they need."
When questioned about policies, almost 50% of HR managers claimed their organisations had a formal policy statement on management development. However, this increased to 66% for Norway and the UK was below average with 43%.
Organisations were also asked what factors triggered the creation of a development programme. Nearly 23% focused on external changes, such as the requirement to comply with government standards, or the need to face up to competition.
Only 41% of HR managers claimed to evaluate management development in a systematic way. Of the respondents, 33% said their organisation's evaluation process was linked to business measures such as sales targets, but 18% of replies suggested no evaluation took place at all. These findings were particularly high in France (32%) and the UK (27%).
E-learning was the least favoured approach to training; the most popular being internal training programmes, followed by external seminars, conferences and mentoring.
The report calls on UK organisations to integrate management development schemes with a general business strategy and for this to be part of a long-term plan for career development.