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Press Release

Study: $126 Billion Spent on Employee Learning and Development in 2009

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Tue Nov 16 2010

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Business leaders dedicated substantial resources to employee learning in 2009 - $125.88 billion - despite uncertain economic conditions, according to the newly released 2010 State of the Industry Report from the American Society for Training & Development (ASTD).

"The findings in our latest State of the Industry Report clearly demonstrate that executives and business leaders know their investments in employee learning and development are keys to survival, recovery, and future growth," says Tony Bingham, President and CEO of ASTD. "Training and the reskilling of the workforce is a strategic driver for companies worldwide. We are encouraged to see that, despite economic uncertainty, business leaders know learning matters."

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The 2010 State of the Industry Report collected data from 304 companies with an average of 13,728 employees. Of the $126 billion spent on employee learning and development, two-thirds, or $78.61 billion, was spent on the internal learning function, and the remaining $47.27 billion went to external services. Other key findings include:

  • The total expenditure of $125.88 billion was down 6.1 percent from the 2008 figure of $134.07 billion.

  • Learning expenditures per employee averaged $ 1,081, up 1.2 percent from 2008, reflecting the fact that learning functions served smaller workforces.

  • Direct learning expenditures increased from 0.59 to 0.71 percent of revenue, and from 8.75 to 10.88 percent of profit in 2009, reflecting organizations' steady financial commitment to learning even while profits and revenue decreased due to the recession.

  • The average percentage of learning hours available through technology reached 36.5 percent, its highest level yet, and 27.7 percent of all formal learning hours made available in 2009 were online.

The ASTD 2010 State of the Industry Report provides data covering the strategic and operational activities against which organizations can benchmark their learning investments and practices. For 14 years this report has provided insightful, actionable information for learning executives and business leaders to use when making decisions about how to leverage and build their talent.

To schedule an interview to discuss the report's findings, please contact Kristen Fyfe at [email protected].

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