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TRAINING: State of the Training and Development Industry

Each year we look forward to the release of the ASTD State of the [Training] Industry report which cites trends and statistics on employee development.  Many of our clients use this data to help benchmark their own efforts, and to forecast trends for the future.

The 2011 report, based on a diverse sampling of 461 organizations, suggests that spending on training per employee decreased 4% from 2010 to a total of $1,228 per employee.  Smaller organizations with fewer than 500 employees spent more than the larger ones:  $1,605 per employee.  This statistic is influenced by the fact that larger organizations place more people into each training hour.

Hours of Training in 2012
On average, employees clocked 31 hours of training in 2011, about 6 fewer hours than the peak of 37 hours in 2007.  BEST Award-winning organizations typically offer employees more than 40 hours of learning, and this year topped that for an average of 49 hours of learning.  In 2011, the cost per learning hour used was $85 per hour per employee.

Top 3 Content Areas in 2012
The top three content areas for learning in 2011, similar to 2010, were:  managerial and supervisory training, profession-or-industry specific training and processes and business practices training.  The bottom three areas reported were executive development, customer service and basic skills. BEST companies reported a record IT and systems in their top three and sales in their bottom three and G500 companies included sales in their top three and interpersonal skills in their bottom three.  Overall percentages for the consolidated scores included:

Managerial and supervisory – 13%

Profession-or-industry specific – 12%

Process, procedures, business practices – 12%

Mandatory and compliance – 11%

Interpersonal skills – 8%

IT and Systems – 7%

Sales – 7%

New Employee Orientation – 6%

Executive Development – 6%

Customer service – 6%

Basic skills – 5%

What Training Format Was Used in 2012
All the organizations reporting used a combination of instructor-led, self-paced and via technology methods to deliver the training.  For most organizations, none of these methods is used exclusively, but rather they are choosing a combination of methods. “ Organizations are increasingly implementing the use of technology, and methods such as mobile learning continue to gain in popularity,” the Report concludes.  Technology-based learning continues to gain in popularity, accounting for 37% of formal hours available across all learning methods. BEST companies reported a high usage of technology-based learning with 50% of their formal learning hours being delivered via a technology-based method, a significant increase over the 32% in 2010.

The Report notes that mobile learning is making significant progress in offering training via mobile devices up from 0.4% in 2010 to 1.4% in 2011.  Experts expect this to be a growth area for the future as mobile devices increase in popularity.

Spent on Training in 2012
ASTD estimates that US organizations spent approximately $156.2 billion in employee learning in 2011, with 56% spent internally, 30% spent on external training offerings and 14% spent on tuition reimbursement.

All organizations today face the challenge of deciding how to allocate training dollars, which content to offer and how to effectively distribute the content and develop a culture of learning.  The ASTD Report suggests that there is a healthy environment for the Learning & Development industry as senior leaders continue to value investments in the development of their staffs.

New Directions As a Partner
New Directions has been in the training business for 28 years, and we see an increasing interest in training as an investment rather than an expense.  In the past, employers would use training as a nice-to-have event for employees – something to make them feel special.  This is no longer the case.  Employers now recognize that learning is a “must-do” if they are to stay competitive.  They are also much more aware that being good at a job does not necessarily mean an employee will be a good manager or leader when promoted.  Managerial and leadership skills require additional training in a wide-range of skill competencies.

Perhaps the most difficult question for employers today is how to keep the employee on board who has received substantial training.  Gen Y or millennial employees like to think of themselves as “portable,” able to move quickly from one job opportunity to another.  Employers are hesitant to spend their training dollars on people who are not fully committed to the organization, what we see as the “learn and leave” syndrome.

Let’s get a dialogue going on how you are addressing your training needs for 2013, including what topics are “hot,” how you will allocate your training dollars and how you will distribute the training.  Mostly, we want to hear how your organization is developing a healthy learning environment in 2013.

Check out our many brochures and catalogues as are a great resource for you as you build your training and development initiatives for next year.

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An innovative training and employee development firm located in southern Vermont since 1984, we specialize in helping organizations get the most out of their people by raising the bar, inspiring potential and partnering with organizations to build a people-centered, high-engagement culture.

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