Global competition is one of the reasons business leaders are recognizing the importance of employee learning and skills development to the growth of their organizations, according to the ASTD.
The 2005 State of the Industry Report by the American Society for Training and Development shows U.S. organizations are investing more in employee learning, and technology continues to play a major role in delivering learning to the workforce.
The increase in expenditure is accompanied by better accounting and governance of learning investments, according to the report, which includes current and historical trends in employer-provided training, with data from 1999 through 2004, and projections for 2005. ASTD is an industry organization based in Alexandria, Va., that runs the largest U.S. conference on workplace learning.
"The perception of the value of learning in driving organizational performance is increasing, as is the level of investing in learning," said Brenda Sugrue, Senior Director of Research for ASTD and author of the report.
"More so than ever before, an organization's learning function is being run like any other business function with increased attention on operational efficiency, accountability, and connection to organizational strategy," she says.
Highlights from the ASTD 2005 State of the Industry Report include:
* The annual training expenditure per employee increased to $955 per employee, up from an average of $820 per employee in 2003 and 2002. (This increase reflects in part better accounting of training expenditures.)
* Employees are receiving more hours of formal learning?32 hours of learning per employee in 2004, up from 26 hours in 2003.
* Average expenditure as a percentage of payroll did not change in 2004 from the previous year, remaining steady at 2.34 percent.
* Training delivery via learning technologies increased to 28 percent in 2004, up from 24 percent in 2003.
* The percentage of expenditure for external services has risen steadily since 2003, with the average now at 27 percent. The services most frequently purchased externally were technology infrastructure and content design, development, and delivery.
* In all categories of organizations that provided data for this report, profession- or industry-specific content was allocated the most learning content in 2004. Managerial/supervisory training and business processes were the second and third largest content areas.
An executive summary of the ASTD 2005 State of the Industry Report can be seen here and on the organization's Web site, www.astd.org. The full report is available for purchase, although ASTD members may download an electronic copy of the full report for free.