‘Empty chair’ for training chief on top UK boards

Major UK employers do not take a strategic view of training and development, according to research.

Of the top FTSE 100 companies surveyed by training firm Thomson NETg, only one unnamed firm employs a chief learning officer, compared with about 50% of Nasdaq 250-listed companies in the US.

In the US, the position of chief learning officer has increased in popularity over the past five years. Businesses in the UK risk falling even further behind their American counterparts if they fail to react, researchers warned.

One of a chief learning officer’s key responsibilities is to link staff development with business goals to ensure the workforce has the right skills to drive the company forward.

For any business to prosper, the strategic planning and implementation of coherent and comprehensive training is imperative, said Mike Summers, director at Thomson NETg.

“There is an empty chair at the boardroom table in nearly all UK-listed companies,” he said.

“Our poll clearly highlights gaps in UK business strategies and that we’re far behind the US in viewing staff development as a strategic business factor.”

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