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CTDO Magazine

What to Watch in 2017, According to Talent Development Executives

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

What will 2017 look like for staffing levels and spending for talent development programs? And which technologies, tools, and strategies will affect how employees learn over the next year? To answer these and other questions about the short-term expectations for talent development functions, ATD conducted an online poll of 230 learning leaders in December 2016. ATD distributes this Talent Development Executive Confidence Index (TDXCI) survey at the end of every quarter.


  • 13 percent of learning leaders expect a decline in staffing levels for their own talent development function in the first six months of 2017.
  • About one-quarter predict that they will be adding members to their team.
  • 64 percent expect staffing levels to hold steady.


  • Approximately one-fourth predicted a growth in their organization's spending on outsourced talent development services provided by suppliers, while the same number expect supplier spending to drop.
  • The remaining half expect supplier spending to go unchanged.

Leadership development

  • 35 percent foresee an increase in spending on executive or senior leader development in the first half of 2017.
  • 40 percent predict growth in frontline or first-line manager development.


  • Nearly 70 percent feel that interactive media (including interactive video and audio) will have at least a moderate amount of impact in the next year.
  • 58 percent expect synchronous virtual classrooms to be at least somewhat influential.
  • Less than one-fifth expect that wearables, which are relatively new, will be at least moderately influential; the same can be said of virtual or augmented reality for learning.

Read more from CTDO magazine: Essential talent development content for C-suite leaders.

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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