New Cegos survey reveals how the economic downturn will impact training practices in 2009

Budgets are set to hold steady with managers being the top focus for professional skills development. 2009 will become the year for e-learning  and serious games.   

Most organisations are unlikely to pull the plug on professional skills development in 2009 as a result of the economic downturn, reveals a new survey by Cegos, part of Europe’s largest learning and development organisation.  The survey reveals that 44% of senior Learning and Development (L&D) professionals expect their annual L&D budgets to remain the same during the next 12 months, while 24% expect budgets to increase and only 17% have plans to cut budgets in 2009. 

The survey is the largest of its kind to examine the impact of the economic downturn on training budgets for 2009 and to assess which areas of training will be most affected as a direct result. Cegos polled 254 senior L&D professionals during the last two weeks of November 2008.

Said Francis Marshall, Managing Director of Cegos UK:

“Tough market conditions are forcing most companies to evaluate the investment they are prepared to make in training. While cutting budgets might appear an easy economy to make, it’s reasuring to see that many companies are recognising that it is even more important to develop talent in these hard times..”

Managers top of the training pile

Most organisations plan to focus their 2009 training on providing professional skills development to middle managers.  44% of respondents revealed that middle managers would be a top priority for skills development within their organisation; 33% said individual team members would be a main focus, while only 24% of organisations plan to make up-skilling their most senior level executives a top priority.   

E-learning and serious games set for meteoric rise
Respondents were asked which methods of training they plan to use within their organisations in 2009 and which training areas were most likely to be affected as a result of the economic slowdown.

 he survey revealed that the biggest area of growth next year will be e-learning, with nearly three quarters (73%) of organisations planning to use e-learning for professional development in 2009, and 36% saying they will increase their e-learning efforts.

The use of serious games for learning and development is growing in popularity, with more than a quarter (27%) of companies planning to integrate immersive gaming within their 2009 L&D strategies.  Face-to-face learning will remain the number one method used by organistions.  More than half of respondents said blended learning will be a key part of their training strategy and one in five respondents plan to embrace mobile learning in 2009.

The survey revealed that sales training will be a key growth area for 2009 with 25% of organisations planning to increase sales function training next year. Trainer development will see the biggest cuts with more than 25% of companies planning to reduce efforts in this area. Coaching and development at the top level of the business is also likely to see large cuts, with 22% of organisations planning to reduce development programmes for their most senior level business leaders.


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