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The state of training in organizations

January 10, 2013

Article courtesy of SBAM Approved Partner ASE

By Cheryl Kuch 

The American Society of Training and Development (ASTD) has recently published its 2012 State of the Industry report.  This annual report describes how organizations are managing their training programs, including the types and numbers of hours of training employees are experiencing and how they are spending their training budgets.

Four hundred eighty-one organizations representing many different industries reported on their learning and development activity in this year’s report.  ASTD distinguishes respondents in three categories:

Consolidated: a consolidation of all companies that responded

BEST: Organizations that were recognized for their exceptional efforts to foster, support and leverage enterprise-wide learning for business results

G500 (Fortune Global 500): Organizations found on the Fortune Magazine Global 500 list ranked by revenue

Training Hours experienced:

The number of hours of training that employees are experiencing stayed about the same in 2011 over 2010 for the Consolidated group at 30.5 hours, one hour less than hours reported in 2010.  However, hours of training vary greatly for the other two groups.  Employees at G500 experienced 35.2 hours, while employees at BEST organizations experienced 49.1 hours on average. BEST organizations have averaged over 40 hours per employee for the last seven years.

Training Content offered:

It may not be a surprise that the top three content concentrations for training for the Consolidated group were Managerial and Supervisory; Profession or Industry-specific; and Processes, Procedures and Business Practices, which accounted for 36 percent of training content made available to employees  – not much of a change over 34 percent reported for this same group last year.  BEST organizations also report IT and Systems in their top areas, and G500 included Sales in their top areas.

The three bottom- rated content areas in the Consolidated group, accounting for 17% of total offerings, include Executive Development, Customer Service and Basic Skills. BEST organizations reported Sales and G500 reported Interpersonal Skills in their bottom three.

Money spent on training

ASTD estimates that U.S. organizations as a whole spent $156.2 billion on employee training and development in 2011, which was a 4 percent decrease over 2010 data.  This figure includes the expense areas of learning staff salaries, administrative learning costs and non-salary delivery costs.  Of the total spent by organizations, 56 percent was spent internally, 30 percent on external services and 14% on tuition reimbursement.

Training dollars spent per employee also decreased from a high of $1,228 in 2010 to $1,182 in 2011, a four percent decrease. Company size does impact training expenditure; small companies with fewer than 500 employees spent $1,605 per employee, midsize companies (500—9,999 employees) spent $1,102 and large organizations with more than 10,000 spent $825 per employee.

How Training is delivered

Live instructor-led delivery in the classroom is still the most utilized way to deliver training, accounting for 58.6 percent of training delivered.  However, organizations do report using a variety of delivery methods with no organization using only one method. Technology-delivered content increased over the previous year to 37.3 percent of content from 33 percent. BEST organizations reported a record high-use of technology-based learning with 50 percent of their formal learning hours delivered this way.  G500 organizations delivered 42 percent of formal learning this way.

So if your organization offers about 30.5 hours of training per employee per year; mostly instructor-led; mostly in supervisory skills, process and procedures, and business and industry- specific skills; and spends around $1,182 per employee, you are about average.

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