Employers continue to cut training spend

Funding for learning and development has continued to take a hit as employer budgets feel the squeeze, according to the Chartered Institute of Learning and Development’s (CIPD) annual Learning and Talent Development survey.

According to the survey’s findings, around two-fifths of organisations have either decreased funding for learning and development this year or anticipate doing so, while only one in 10 anticipates an increased investment in training in the next 12 months.

More than half (54%) of organisations report that their economic circumstances have declined in the past 12 months, with one-third reducing the use of external suppliers and moving to in-house provision as a result.

The survey also found that companies have increased their training offering per employee this year compared with 2010 levels. They have also increased their use of lower-cost development practices such as e-learning (54%), coaching by line managers (47%), in-house development programmes (45%) and internal knowledge-sharing events (37%).

Meanwhile, public sector cuts are having a significant impact on learning and development, with public sector employers three times as likely as those in the private sector to report that the funding of learning and talent development will decrease in the next 12 months (three-quarters (76%) compared to a quarter (26%)). This compares to last year’s figures of two-fifths (19%) of public sector and more than half of private sector respondents reporting that they expected cuts.

Dr John McGurk, learning and talent development adviser at the CIPD, said: “With the full impact of the spending cuts yet to be felt in the public sector, maintaining support for employee development by linking it to organisational change is essential if organisations are to steer through these uncertain and challenging times.

“It’s encouraging to see that during the tough times organisations have coped well with reduced budgets and shifted from external to in-house provision, as well as utilising less costly development practices. This has proved that the function is adept to new innovations, as well as cost control when the going gets tough. We expect to see public sector learning and development teams rely on similar methods as the cuts start to bite, already indicated by our findings.”

The full findings of the report will be revealed at the CIPD’s annual HRD Conference and Exhibition on 6 and 7 April.

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