Press Release

$156 Billion Spent on Training and Development

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Findings reported in ASTD’s 2012 State of the Industry Report.

U.S. organizations spent $156.2 billion on employee learning and development in 2011, according to the just-released findings of ASTD’s 2012 State of the Industry Report sponsored by Skillsoft and Eagle’s Flight.

The report’s findings demonstrate that despite continuing economic challenges, senior executives understand that a highly skilled workforce is a strategic differentiator and they are making substantial investments in the development of their employees.

ASTD’s  2012 State of the Industry Report is based on a survey of 461 organizations representing a diverse sample of industries, sizes, and locations. For comparative analysis findings are reported for three data sources: a consolidated source of all organizations; a data source pulling from the 30 BEST Award winning organizations; and a data source reflecting 27 Fortune Global 500 organizations.


Key findings are

• $156.2 billion spent on learning and development in 2011 in the US
• 56 percent of expenditures were on internal expenses ($87.5 billion)
• Per-employee spending decreased 4 percent ($1,228 in 2010, $1,182 in 2011), but the amount of spending on employees correlates to company size. Smaller companies typically spend more per employee on L&D than their larger counterparts.
• 14 percent of expenditures went to tuition reimbursement ($21.9 billion)
• Direct expenditure on learning as a percent of payroll increased from 2.7 to 3.2 percent.
• Employees averaged 31 hours of training in 2011. Employees in BEST organizations used substantially higher amounts of training, averaging 49 hours each.
• Technology-based delivery of instruction rose to 37.3 percent of formal hours, up from 29.1 percent in 2010.
• The top three areas of L&D content in 2011 were: managerial and supervisory (12.6 percent); profession- or industry-specific (11.6 percent); and processes, procedures, and business practices (11.6 percent).

The ASTD 2012 State of the Industry Report is available on the ASTD Store.

About the Author

The Association for Talent Development (ATD) is a professional membership organization supporting those who develop the knowledge and skills of employees in organizations around the world. The ATD Staff, along with a worldwide network of volunteers work to empower professionals to develop talent in the workplace.

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