Only one in three senior business managers in Scotland has qualifications relevant to their job, according to research carried out for the Andrew Carnegie Business School, part of Lauder College.
Business leaders say they are too busy to commit themselves to the studying involved, with almost 70 per cent saying that their workload is too heavy or that they lack leisure time.
The survey was carried out by the MRUK market research organisation and the business school hopes the findings will underline the importance and attractiveness of its short courses and flexible learning.
Janet Lowe, principal of the business school and of the college, commented:
"What is striking about this research is that it illustrates the levels of frustration out there as it relates to learning, while trying to build a career in senior management."
While 94 per cent had training to help in their existing jobs, only 16 per cent had gone on short courses and just 7 per cent had opted for part-time college or university programmes.
Ms Lowe said: "Ambitious managers see learning as a means to advance, but are struggling to find the means by which they can achieve this while balancing the demands placed on them by their working lives and home lives."
The business school hopes to offer short courses in areas such as the management of risk which takes five days, or day courses ranging from negotiation skills to working with the media.
Forty per cent of managers said they would find short courses attractive, while 32 per cent favoured online courses and 21 per cent day release courses.
Traditional full-time or evening courses were the least preferred options for those who took part in the survey, being supported by only 4 per cent.
The Andrew Carnegie Business School, named after the Dunfermline-born philanthropist, aims to offer other incentives, ranging from free coffee for managers to a quiet area equipped with PC and internet access to allow them to keep in touch with their offices.