Set to be introduced in 2017, the planned tax is intended to help fund the training of 3m apprentices by 2020.
However, a survey of 275 companies by HR body CIPD found that just one in five employers think the levy will improve the quality of apprenticeship schemes.
Almost a third of companies warned that the levy would cause them to reduce their investment in other areas of staff training and development.
CIPD is recommending the government consider weighting funding to encourage organisations to invest in apprenticeships at level 3 and above.
Ben Willmott, head of public policy at CIPD, said: “The introduction of the levy must be used as an opportunity to focus on raising quality levels so that apprenticeships are regarded as a viable alternative to university and not seen as a poor second choice for academic under-achievers.
“More universities and other education providers need to build links with their local employers and help create more higher apprenticeship schemes.”
Though the tax is set to be introduced in 2017, the lack of detail about how it will be implemented has led to concerns from the British Hospitality Association (BHA) that it could pose a ‘risk to business’.