A recent international survey provides new benchmarks for training practices, reveals some interesting national differences and suggests that a comprehensive training strategy is lacking around the world. By Gene Johnson
The Cranet Survey on international strategic human resource management is a best-practice benchmarking study led by Cranfield University’s Centre for European Human Resource Management.
The project originated in the UK in 1989 and has since expanded throughout Europe and elsewhere. The most recent survey in late 1999 was administered in 27 countries worldwide, providing an internationally comparative database of best practice. Data from 22 countries is reported here.
Participating organisations come from both the private and public sectors, representing more than 5,000 employers.
The most significant finding is that there are no apparent world leaders in training and development. Using five objective indicators (evidence of training policy, training expenditure, employee coverage, training days, and management/professional development activity) to ascertain national differences in emphasis on training, countries varied considerably in the rankings. Indeed, within individual countries, performance on the indicators is somewhat inconsistent.
Training & Development Policies
Starting on a positive note, seven out of every 10 employers have developed formal, written policies on training and development. Countries having the most workplaces with formal training policies are Australia and the UK (both over 80 per cent). Countries with workplaces less likely to develop formal policies are Greece, Bulgaria, Italy, Norway, and Sweden, where only about half of employers have developed these policies.
By far the biggest investors in training are the French whose workplaces fork out twice the international average of 2 per cent.
The stingiest employers are found in the Czech Republic, Italy, and Japan, spending only 1 per cent of annual wages.
On average, less than half of any given organisation’s employees received training in 1999, whether internal or extern