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Attendance Figures


Would anybody have any recommendations of where to get average attendance figures for the UK ?

I am trying to benchmark our company against others within the UK for attendance and No Shows.

As always, all suggestions greatly received.
Garry Damant

6 Responses

  1. CIPD Annual survey
    You may find the CIPD annual survey on Absence useful, which you can access through thier website even if you are not a CIPD member. I used it this year in a benchmarking exercise and found it very useful.


  2. No shows
    Your use of the phrase ‘no shows’ makes me wonder whether you are after attendance, cancellation and no show rates for courses rather sick absence figures. It might be useful if you clarified this point.

  3. Attendance Figures
    Hi Gary,

    I think you will only find generalities published on the web. I have operated for 20 years in the training industry and in my experience, No-shows (or even Go-shows) is very much determined by company culture. I work with many large blue-chip firms and in two of my clients, no-showing for a course would be seriously frowned upon by management and unless someone fell sick on the start day of a course, they would definitely be there, on time. In two other client organisations I see no-show rates in the region of 20-30% on a regular basis. In one case, so common were no-shows that we began inviting 15 people to a course when the max fill rate was 12 an dstill often run with 10 or 11! I have helped clients deal with their no-show culture (which often mirrors their meetings culture) on several occasions but for client confidentiality reasons, I don’t want to mention their names here. Please feel free to give me a call to discuss this in more depth.


    Gary Homes

  4. Thank You
    Thank you for your comments so far. Graham, you are correct and apologies for not clarifying initially. We are interested in lack of attendance rather than sickness (although greatly appreciated Garry) and as mentioned it is something that isn’t published in any great depth. I’ve managed to find some figures from the NSH and Police Force, however not really enough data to successfully benchmark.

    The exercise was to seek to gain Management buy in with regards to training importance Vs business needs, as we’ve all experienced at some stage it’s very frustrating to cancel courses due to lack of numbers. That’s the frustration of being an in-house facilitator I guess.

  5. No shows and cancellations
    Thanks for the clarification.
    Figures do vary significantly from one organisation to another. I have worked with many training operations to address this issue as it is often the single biggest efficiency factor. One organisation I worked with costed the value of no shows and late cancellations to well over £100k per month. We were able to significantly reduce that sum. In that case most of the money was ploughed back into other L&D programmes that might not otherwise have been possible.
    Hard benchmark data is hard to come by but I think the 20-30% figure shown below is not untypical for an organisation that is not properly addressing this issue. Perhaps 5 -10% is probably a more realistic figure if you have good processes in place.
    My top three tips are:
    1. Develop and publish a cancellation policy that is tailored to your situation. Look at commercial training organisations for inspiration how to approach this. But remember the business still comes first; don’t impose a system that unduly penalises people who are reluctantly pulled off programmes for genuinely business critical reasons. Set out your policy clearly in publicity and at the point people book on to programmes.
    2. Consider charging a cancellation fee (even if you do not charge for the courses); make sure this covers the full cost and is charged to the line manager. Allow yourself the discretion to waive the charge if someone is genuinely ill, bereaved, etc. but otherwise enforce it strictly. (This may be some effort for a month or two but after a while as cancellations reduce so will the time you take to administer it).
    3. Publicise the costs and consequences of late cancellations and no shows. Provide a report to the Board quarterly showing which areas of the business have had the highest cancellations and what that has cost. Put a monthly report on the intranet on showing this months no show costs (with this, hopefully, reducing month on month).
    Late cancellations and no shows is not just the corporate equivalent of discourtesy, it also costs organisations and the economy millions of pounds every year.
    Once the training is delivering the right results – which has to be the number one priority – the next most important is to get it to the right people at the right time in the most cost effective way. Let’s stop tolerating these ‘I’ll turn up if I feel like it’ individual behaviours and corporate cultures.
    Best of luck


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