Training budgets cut by more than half of employers, says CIPD

Learning and development professionals have been forced to adopt more efficient training practices over the past year after budgets were slashed during the recession, research has revealed.

The 2010 Learning and Development Survey from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), reveals that training budgets were cut in more than half of the 700 organisations questioned. This is up from a third that reported their budgets were cut in the 2009 survey.

Only one in 10 employers (11%) expect training spend to increase in the next 12 months, with the majority (65%) revealing that their organisation’s economic circumstances have worsened in the past 12 months, compared to 46% in 2009.

Despite this, training departments’ headcounts have largely remained the same in the past year, as organisations managed costs more efficiently. Steps included reducing the use of external suppliers and moving to in-house provision (31%), and focusing on certain areas such as leadership skills (65%), front-line people management skills (55%), and business awareness (51%).

John McGurk, learning and talent adviser at the CIPD, said while it was positive to see L&D professionals focusing on value, it was important that they didn’t become too short-termist.

“There is a tendency to focus on ‘impact’ skills when budgets are cut, but there is a danger that these training interventions will only have a short-term impact,” he told Personnel Today. “It is still important to plan ahead and think about strategy and innovation – don’t ignore structural skills issues, such as emotional intelligence.”

While taking more courses in-house makes economic sense, McGurk warned L&D professionals not to become too inward-facing. “Hibernation can become an issue,” he said. “L&D professionals can become stuck into delivering training in-house, so they lose their connections and networks, becoming less effective as a result.”

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