Organizations spending less on T&D: Survey

Average expenditure per worker dropped 40 per cent in 15 years

Organizations are spending less on training, learning and development than they did 15 years ago, according to a new survey.

The Conference Board of Canada, in partnership with the Canadian Society for Training and Development, surveyed 218 organizations for its 10th Learning and Development Outlook survey and found organizations spent an average of $787 per employee (or 1.5 per cent as a proportion of their payroll) on training, learning and development (TLD) in 2008.

This represents a 40-per-cent decline over the past decade-and-a-half. Furthermore, employees in 2008 received an average of 20 hours of training, down from 26 hours just four years ago — a 30-per-cent decline.
“Compared to our leading competitor nations, our investment is modest. Furthermore, training, learning and development spending may not be immune to the pressure of the global recession,” said Alison Campbell, senior research associate at the Conference Board.

“For the first time since the Conference Board began collecting this data, more organizations are expecting a decrease in their TLD budgets than an increase in the coming year.”
However, the majority of respondents believed that more informal learning was occurring in their workplaces than in the past. Respondents estimated that on average 56 per cent of all learning in their organizations occurred informally, a significant increase from 33 per cent in the 2004 survey and 42 per cent in the 2006 survey.
More than half of responding organizations indicated that they have altered their TLD strategies in response to growing skills shortages. However, the report found two major groups in the labour force — mature workers and new Canadians — are not being widely-targeted by employers for training.

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