In 2011 U.S. organizations spent more than $156 billion. On average employees clocked 31 hours of training; this is about an hour less than 2010, six hours less than the peak of 34 hours in 2007, but five hours more than employees were using 10 years ago.
The annual report for 2012 portrays a stable environment for the learning and development industry and a clear recognition from senior leaders of its strategic importance, as demonstrated by their willingness to personally participate and invest in learning and development.
This visible commitment to learning and development is evident at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (see cover story).
"When I joined the VA, it already had a tremendous investment—more than $1 billion annually—in the training, certification, and monitoring of the skills and abilities of our 60,000 nurses and 20,000 physicians," says W. Scott Gould, deputy secretary of Veterans Affairs. "What I didn't see was a matching investment in training for the people who run the management infrastructure, IT, acquisition, human capital, logistics, and the like that would complement the investment that the organization was already making in its healthcare practitioners. So we extended the training franchise to everyone in the organization and set our sights on training all 314,000 employees over a three-year period."
Data from this year's report reveal a strong commitment to training for managerial and supervisory staff, profession- or industry-specific skills, processes and procedures, and business practices. The use of technology to delivery training—especially mobile learning—continues to gain in popularity.
Continued support for workplace learning demonstrates that company executives understand the importance of employee learning for the future growth of their companies.