Large firms cut back on training budgets

Funding for training at large organisations has fallen over the past year, according to the 2007 Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development’s (CIPD) Learning, Training and Development Survey.

Of the 656 respondents who answered questions on training spend, 50% of those working at organisations employing 10,001 or more staff said training budgets had decreased during the past 12 months, while 12% said they had risen. Some 9% of respondents from organisations with 5,001 to 10,000 staff said training budgets had risen while 53% reported a fall.

But just 19% of respondents from companies employing 250 people or less said training budgets had decreased, compared to 15% who said they had increased. Overall, 32% of respondents reported a decrease and 12% an increase in training spend, with the remainder saying budgets were stable.

As for the next 12 months, 22% of those polled said they expect their training budgets to rise, 24% think they will fall, and 46% said they will stay the same.

Only 10% of respondents from the public sector – compared to 13% in the 2006 survey – said they expected training budgets to rise in the next 12 months. The equivalent figures for the voluntary and private sectors were 22% and 28% respectively.

The average training spend per employee was, said the CIPD, £272 compared to the £278 reported in the 2006 survey.

Respondents were also asked: what is the most effective way for people to learn? Some 41% said on-the-job training, while 21% said formal training courses, 15% the experience of work itself, and 10% coaching and mentoring. Only 2% chosee-learning, up from 1% in the 2006 poll.

Yet when asked how their organisations’ use of L&D methods and activities would change over the next few years, 67% said they thought e-learning would increase.

The survey emphasised how crucial line managers are to the effectiveness of L&D, with 90% of respondents saying that in this regard they were important or very important. But only 12% of those polled felt line managers took L&D very seriously, while 20% said they didn’t take it seriously enough.

CIPD L&D adviser Victoria Winkler said: “Line managers are key to delivering effective L&D, and thus need to be supported in meeting their employees’ needs.”

The survey was based on completed questionnaires from 663 respondents who were CIPD members and training and/or development managers.

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