Virtually all topmanagers (93%) with commercial education believe that in general businessmen make better top managers than engineers. At least this is the opinion of participants at the eighth »Manager Panel« staged by LAB Lachner Aden Beyer & Company which is an international personnel management consultancy. However, their top manager colleagues with engineer background are much more self-critical. Only 74% of skilled engineers prefer themselves to businessmen as top managers.
Anyhow, 25% of engineers questioned said that businessmen were the better managers, whereas just 7% of businessmen favoured engineers. Whereas both these groups participated in equal shares in the survey, it also took into account the opinions of lawyers, scholars and managers with other types of professional background. Only 59% of all these groups combined together turned out to be advocates of businessmen as topmanagers which is a clear sign for more scepticism in this respect among people without business background.
Aspects in which businessmen seem to be clearly superior to engineers are, according to the findings of the study, the development of new business models, profit maximization, entrepreneurial spirit and actions. On the other side, however, critics considered them to perform worse with regard to taking „systematic approaches» and „understanding of complex matters«. »From our point of view the ideal executive board has to combine several individual skills», says Peter Lachner, managing partner of LAB & Company. »This diversity can often be found on executive boards consisting of engineers as well as business people.
61% percent of those asked predict an increasing demand for engineers over the next five years to come, whereas only 34 % think that managers with business background will be more sought after.
The Manager Panel is a monthly survey by the LAB & Company in co-operation with the Financial Times Deutschland and considers the opinions of 639 German executive managers. The findings of the Manager Panel are available for download.