Almost 300,000 managers quit their jobs last year for a better offer or to leave their profession altogether, new research has revealed.
Almost one in 10 resigned - twice as many as the previous 12 months - amid a "dramatic" increase in turnover because of redundancies, transfers and resignations, the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) said.
Firms are finding it increasingly difficult to hold on to management staff and to recruit new managers, said the report.
The study also showed that managers received an average pay rise of 3.1% last year, up from 2.2% in 2010, taking the average departmental head on to a figure of almost £80,000.
Directors are less likely to receive a bonus than staff at lower levels in the wake of controversy over pay levels, said the report.
Christopher Kinsella, acting chief executive of the CMI, said: "Employers are struggling to recruit and to retain high quality managers. One in 10 managers resigned from their jobs last year, presumably for better offers elsewhere.
"However, there is a risk that a substantial proportion of these managers left the profession altogether.
"We understand that many organisations are still struggling to provide general salary increases due to recessionary pressures, but we urge employers to look to non-financial methods of rewarding good employees or risk losing them."