Are UK employers investing enough in learning and development?

Learning and development is vital in enabling employees to flourish in their roles. It’s also key to the success of the business as a whole. But are UK employers doing enough to develop, train and retain their best assets?

Employers are investing less in L&D

According to a CIPD survey, UK employers are investing less in training and development now than they were 20 years ago, particularly in relation to off-the-job training. In the past two decades, rates have fallen by an alarming 20%. When it comes to the number of training hours per week per employee, the picture is even bleaker, with a 40% decline over the same period.

Internal promotion: The statistics

The CIPD survey asked respondents if they had been promoted since starting with their current employer. Just 28% of them said yes. 43% had remained in the same role with the same duties, while 28% had not been promoted, despite the nature of their tasks and responsibilities changing. 2% had a lower-level position than when they started.

Barriers to career progression

When it comes to career progression, all is not equal. Older workers and workers on lower-wages receive less training and have fewer opportunities for career progression. Women are also slightly more disadvantaged in these areas.

A 2016 study found that 33% of British workers are disappointed with their career progression. Issues such as inadequate careers advice in school, and a lack of economic means, were factors. However, the top three problems cited as barriers to progression were organisation-specific. These were poor line management (39%), a lack of effective training (34%) and negative office politics (34%).

What employers can do improve professional development

Professional development is key to staff retention. So it’s incumbent upon employers to open up pathways to progression. When budgets are tight, staff learning and development may be placed on the back-burner. But the cost of replacing frustrated employees, and the impact of a disengaged workforce, could be far greater than the initial outlay of training.

Learning and development programmes must be made available to managers in order for the wider L&D strategy to be effective. Training leaders to take a coaching approach to management could improve morale, and enable organisations to capitalise on the skillsets of internal talent.

The matter of office politics is a more difficult nut to crack. It’s harder to assess and measure and requires employees at all levels to examine their own attitudes. But it’s by no means an insurmountable problem. Again, leadership training that reinforces organisational values is a good first step towards positive cultural change. Using an external training provider can also help bring a fresh perspective to the table.

Support with your learning and development strategy

If you want a fresh perspective on your L&D strategy, get in touch. Knight’s Agency specialises in designing and delivering training programmes tailored to specific business needs. We can help you build a strategy that fosters a culture of learning, growth and retention. Contact us via the form below or call 0207 112 8412.


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