HR career training a low priority as business focus moves away from skills

HR career development will take a back seat in the coming year as companies look to improve sales and customer service skills, a survey has claimed.

A poll of 326 senior executives by professional services firm Deloitte, Managing talent in a turbulent economy, found just 21% of respondents said there would be increased focus on training for back-office roles like HR and IT, compared to one-third aiming to provide more training for sales and customer service staff.

The findings come as a PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) survey revealed that CEOs are not as concerned about workforce skills as they were in 2008.

Anne-Marie Malley, partner in Deloitte’s human capital consulting practice, said businesses were more concerned with growing revenue in a declining market. “Companies have limited money to spend and are prioritising what they spend the money on,” she told Personnel Today.

“Their priorities are on future leaders and jobs that grow revenue via sales and customer service, because that’s where they will make or break during the downturn.”

However, nearly 75% of respondents were concerned about rivals stealing their high-potential employees and future leaders. “There are opportunities out there for talented employees who want to make a move, and employers will ignore the career development of these high potentials at their own risk,” Malley said.

One in three companies intended to reduce bonuses over the next 12 months, while one in five was focusing on reducing salaries and employee benefits, the survey found.

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