Construction and leisure firms spend the least money on training, according to research by qualifications provider City & Guilds.
The study of more than 600 HR managers found that almost two-thirds spent less than £10,000 a year on training.
The construction and leisure industries had the smallest spend, with 8% of construction firms admitting they spent nothing at all on staff training.
The report said neglecting training could “seriously impact” the UK’s economy as it attempts to compete with countries such as India, China and Eastern Europe.
The public sector came out as the big spender - particularly government - with a third of HR managers reporting that their annual training spend was more than £100,000.
Better training would reduce recruitment and turnover costs and help retain the knowledge and experience of staff, the report said.