Private sector training budgets slashed in response to downturn

More
than a quarter of private sector employers have cut their spending on training
in the past year in response to worsening economic conditions, according to
research released today.

The
Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) study reveals that more
than half of private sector firms reported deteriorating trading conditions in
2002, with 28 per cent cutting training budgets in response, 55 per cent
maintaining training spend and 17 per cent increasing it.

In
the public sector, 38 per cent of employers say the economic outlook has
worsened over the past year. Of these organisations, 26 per cent report an
increase in spending on training, 54 per cent said it remained steady and only
20 per cent saw a reduction.

 The study reveals that an increasing
proportion of the training budget is being spent on the websites and
organisation intranets, which have both doubled in use during the past five
years.

The
survey also shows that 60 per cent of organisations provide diversity training.

Most
diversity training is provided to HR, middle and junior managers (more than 85
per cent), with technical, clerical and manual staff receiving the least (45
per cent).

 Only around half of the respondents carried
out monitoring on equal opportunities training uptake. This figure varies
across sectors with public sector organisations reporting a significantly
higher incidence of monitoring (68.9 per cent) when compared with the private
sector (39.3 per cent).

The
survey also shows that only half of the respondents have had contact with their
local Learning and Skills Council (LSC), with larger organisations and
manufacturing and public administration organisations being more likely to have
made contact.

The
CIPD adviser on learning, training and development, Jessica Rolph, said:
"The survey findings are good news and show that HR professionals are
doing a good job of convincing their colleagues and boards of the need to
preserve training budgets if they are to weather the economic storm.”

By Ben Willmott

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