ASTD Releases 2009 State of the Industry Report

The 2009 State of the Industry Report revealed that workplace learning and performance has withstood the challenges of the difficult economy. Although investment in training was stable in 2008, organizations achieved positive outcomes and successfully contributed to their employees’ development with more formal learning opportunities while using fewer resources. Although many organizations were forced to cut costs wherever possible, workplace learning and performance did not suffer disproportionately to any significant degree. Investment in employee learning and development remained steady through the end of 2008. Although the average annual learning expenditure per employee fell from $1,110 in 2007 to $1,068 in 2008 – a 3.8 percent decrease – it was not large by any means. The commitment to learning is also evident from the figure for average learning expenditure as a percentage of payroll: it increased from 2.15 percent in 2007 to 2.24 percent in 2008. Another consistent trend is decreased spending on outsourcing to external services such as consultants, workshops, and training sessions. Since 2004, organizations have relied less on outsourcing each year. The average percentage of the learning budget allocated to external services was 22.0 percent in 2008, down from 25.2 percent the previous year. Instead, organizations are relying on internal resources for their workplace learning and performance initiatives more than in the past. The average percentage of learning expenditure dedicated to internal resources was 66.1 percent in 2008. Learning professionals successfully found ways to manage learning content while cutting costs in 2008. Learning departments were serving a larger constituency than in the past: the average number of employees per learning staff member was 253 in 2008, up from 227 in 2007. On average, there were 353 hours of formal learning content made available per WLP staff member. Additionally, the average cost per learning hour available decreased 8.0 percent: from $1,660 in 2007 to $1,528 in 2008. Source: ASTD 2009State of the Industry Report Click here to learn more about ASTD Research.

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