Press Release

ATD Releases 2016 State of the Industry Report

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Organizations spent an average of $1,252 per employee on training and development initiatives in 2015, a $23 increase from 2014, according to the recently released ATD 2016 State of the Industry report, sponsored by Bellevue University and the Training Associates.


Developing the knowledge, skills, and abilities of the workforce continues to be a priority for organizations. The use of technology is increasing in the delivery of training, but about half of all learning is still delivered live in a traditional classroom.

ATD’s 2016 State of the Industry report is based on a survey of more than 300 organizations of various sizes, industries, and locations. Key findings include the following:

  • Per-employee spending increased in 2015 to an average of $1,252 per employee (from $1,229 in 2014).
  • 28 percent of direct learning expenditures went to outsourced or external activities.
  • Direct expenditure as a percent of payroll increased from 4 to 4.3 percent.
  • Employees averaged 33.5 hours of training in 2015, compared with 32.4 hours in 2014.
  • The average cost per learning hour slightly decreased from $84 to $82.
  • The top three areas of training content in 2015 were managerial and supervisory (12 percent), mandatory and compliance (11 percent), and processes, procedures, and business practices (10 percent).
  • Instructor-led live face-to-face classroom was the delivery mechanism for 49 percent of learning hours available in 2015.
  • On-the-job learning was a key part of employees’ development experiences; learning that occurs during work was emphasized heavily in two-thirds of participating organizations.

The ATD 2016 State of the Industry report is a free member benefit and is available on the ATD Store. ATD will also host a webcast about the report’s findings on Wednesday, December 21, 2016.

About ATD


The Association for Talent Development (ATD) is the world’s largest professional membership organization supporting those who develop the knowledge and skills of employees, improve performance, and help to achieve results for the organizations they serve. Originally established in 1943, the association was previously known as the American Society for Training & Development (ASTD).

ATD’s members come from more than 120 countries and work in public and private organizations in every industry sector. ATD supports talent development professionals who gather locally in volunteer-led U.S. chapters and international member networks, and with international strategic partners. For more information, visit

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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