Companies funneled more dollars into training in 2013.
Many agree that the economic recovery is in full swing, but if doubters remain, they need only to look at recent statistics on corporate training. A study from Bersin by Deloitte, The Corporate Learning Factbook 2014, found that overall spending on training rose 15 percent in 2013. The increase in spending on training—usually the first on the budget chopping block—is seen as evidence of an economy on the rebound.
As companies find themselves in better financial situations, they are more willing to address skills gaps by investing in training. According to Karen O'Leonard, vice president of benchmarking and analytics research at Bersin by Deloitte, "The problem many organizations face today is not a shortage of people; it is a shortage of key skills, especially those in engineering, scientific, and technical fields."
The study also cites gaps in leadership skills as a concern for many companies. More than 60 percent of the organizations surveyed said that leadership gaps are a top business challenge. The largest share of learning and development (L&D) spending, 35 cents of every dollar, went toward leadership training. Often these programs seek to improve leadership skills in employees at all levels, from frontline supervisors to executives.
Companies with well-established L&D programs spend 37 percent more on training than companies with less mature programs. Those with the most robust L&D programs focus their spending on leadership development and function-specific training, such as sales and customer service training.
Technology companies are investing the most in L&D, spending on average $1,847 per learner. Firms such as IBM and Xerox have spent their training dollars on shifting employees' focus from selling products to becoming industry experts. Other organizations are concentrating on topics such as big data and cybersecurity.
Increased investment in training across all industries will yield a better-skilled workforce, which will support our continuing economic growth.