Legislation that allows employees in companies with more than 250 members of staff to make requests in relation to training has failed to deliver benefits in the vast majority of organisations.
Research by XpertHR has found that just 12% of companies have seen a positive impact on training as a result of the law, which came into effect in April 2010, and only 13% have received such requests from staff.
More than half (57%) of the HR professionals surveyed said that they thought the legislation was irrelevant for most organisations.
Three-quarters of those polled said that they already had processes in place whereby employees could make training or study requests, and a majority of these said that such requests were given "significant consideration".
Almost nine HR professionals in 10 (89%) had received at least one request through existing channels, the study found. Three-quarters of these related to the funding of external study and six in 10 to ongoing training requiring regular time off work.
Charlotte Wolff, XpertHR's training editor and author of the report, Employer approaches to training requests: XpertHR survey 2011, said that while many organisations recognised the value of improving employee skills there was still room for improvement.
"A quarter of the organisations in the research do not have an existing, informal process through which employees can make training requests, and half the employers say that they believe the legislation is a valuable way to extend learning to more employees and should apply to organisations employing fewer than 250 people," she added.
A report published by the Institute of Directors and skills research company CFE released this week found that 58% of company directors believe that skills gaps are holding back the growth of their business.
Almost half (47%) of those questioned also said that some of their employees lacked the skills needed to do their job to the required standard.