The executives leading America’s businesses are not very confident in the managers that report to them, a new report shows.

Fifty-two percent of top company executives say their direct reports lack the leadership know-how to make it to their level, according to a new survey by Deloitte Consulting. One rung down the corporate ladder, the view of the management pipeline is even bleaker: 59 percent of the managers in line for the top corporate posts (Deloitte labels this group CXOWs, short for C-suite executives-in-waiting) concede that their subordinates don’t have the leadership chops to move up.

Many managers don’t even want a promotion, at least according to their bosses. Almost half of the C-suite executives (44 percent) surveyed say a “lack of personal ambition and motivation” is holding back their direct reports. Meanwhile, 50 percent of the CXOWs say “little or no access to leadership training” is the biggest obstacle stifling their careers.

The Deloitte report offers a dismal view of the management bench available to run U.S. companies. “We’re all in the talent business,” says Jim Moffatt, chairman and CEO of Deloitte Consulting. “How you cultivate that talent will decide if you succeed, but I don’t see companies being very thoughtful about that.”

U.S. companies need succession plans, Moffatt says, that rotate managers at all levels into new, more challenging jobs to expand their experience. Business school programs, like an MBA or EMBA, are “not enough” to develop the next generation of leaders, he says.

Moffatt has a message for employers hiring B-school grads: “If you’re trading a higher GMAT score for someone with leadership experience, you’re making the wrong trade.”

There’s also a message for future business leaders: Don’t expect much help from your employer. Just under half (49 percent) of those eager to move into the C-suite say they get the training they need to advance their careers. That makes sense, given that only 49 percent of C-suite execs care about developing the leadership skills of their people.

Source: Businessweek