Funding for training rises in past 2 years: Survey

But average of $705 per employee much lower than high of $1,207

Between 2010 and 2012, Canadian organizations increased funding for training, learning and development, according to the Conference Board of Canada's Learning and Development Outlook.

Spending was up $17 per employee, a “modest” reversal of the downward trend of the past two decades.

Organizations spent an average of $705 per employee compared to $688 per employee in 2010, found the survey of 198 employers.

However, overall learning and development spending is down nearly 40 per cent from a high of $1,207 in 1993. Over the past 20 years, spending has declined in both the public and private sectors and in organizations of all sizes.

"Although we are observing slightly higher increases in spending in the most recent survey, it is unlikely that expenditures on learning and development will rise to levels seen in the past without a stronger organizational commitment to enhancing learning environments," said Donna Burnett-Vachon, associate director of leadership and human resources research.

"This is a significant issue because we know that organizations with strong learning cultures tend to realize better business results. Those who invest more in learning and development are the organizations that are being rewarded with higher levels of employee performance, customer satisfaction, and quality products and services compared to their competition.”

Highlights of the survey:

Organizations with strong learning cultures have strong leadership that supports learning and development delivery. Leadership development plays a crucial role in supporting learning culture.

•A majority of organizations (60 per cent) consider leadership development a strategic priority, yet only about one-third rate their leadership development practices as effective.

•Organizations continue to rely heavily on informal learning and are putting more emphasis on e-learning, especially in areas such as online social networking. The percentage of organizations with strong learning cultures that frequently or always use social networking has more than doubled in the last two years.

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