SINGAPORE managers are more optimistic about their organisations' business prospects compared with two years ago, according to the latest SIM Management Monitor.

Of the more than 1,000 Singapore-based managers polled in June this year, 39 per cent said that they were optimistic about the global economy, a marked increase from 16 per cent in 2012. Those that expressed negative sentiments fell from 53 per cent in 2012 to 17 per cent.

In relation to the local economy's impact on their businesses, almost half of the Singapore managers (48 per cent) remained positive, comparable to 2012's 45 per cent.

"The US economy seems to be on track for growth after very sluggish growth in the past few years. The European economy is also improving after the debt crisis. China is showing better growth and there is hope that the Indian economy will grow after the elections and with Modi as the prime minister," said Sundaram Janakiramanan, finance professor at SIM University. "In Singapore, the government is taking steps to increase productivity that will increase growth. Thus, from all angles, there is optimism about global as well as Singapore economy."

Separately, this is the first time the study looked at the management of a different generation of workers.

Notably, almost 70 per cent of the managers polled said that they were not effectively managing millennials (those born between 1980 and 2001).

Scenarios cited include millennials leaving the company within two years of starting on the job (79 per cent said that they were ineffective in dealing with such situations); younger employees managing older employees (68 per cent said that they were ineffective); and millennials challenging established ways of doing things in the organisation (72 per cent said that they were ineffective).

"Managing millennials is an increasing challenge perhaps due to changing expectations and outlook of career progression among the younger workforce," said Jeffrey Tan, director, strategic plans and research, at SIM. "Many seem amenable to pursue a short stint and springboard to the next perceived better opportunity. This is manifested in the concerns polled in the survey."

Separately, more than half of the managers (65 per cent) said that while training is an important tool to better manage and develop staff, close to 50 per cent said that training is not effective.

The issues raised ranged from training being more of a cost than an investment; skills not being effectively applied after the training; and limited types of relevant and useful training available within the industry. "Compared to the previous year's survey, this year's survey shows that a higher percentage of managers believe that the effectiveness of training has been poor," said Prof Janakiramanan.

The 2014 Singapore Institute of Management (SIM) Management Monitor Survey is the third edition following previous editions conducted in 2009 and 2012. A total of 1,018 managers based in Singapore were surveyed. About one third (33 per cent) of the organisations were small and medium-sized enterprises, and 30 per cent were multinational companies.