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Hot off the Press – the CIPD 2012 Annual Survey Report. My take on the implications for training providers


The CIPD’s Annual Survey Report in partnership with Cornerstone OnDemand landed in my inbox this morning.  The findings in the 42 pages made interesting if not surprising reading.   I read it with two hats on – one as the passionate L & TD professional and one as the Marketeer.

With L & TD written through me like a stick of rock for the last 29 years I was particularly struck by the statistics around the deficits and inadequacies of management and leadership skills, particularly at senior level.  Three quarters of organisations in England reported that these were lacking – two thirds reporting this for  Senior Management level, and 85% reporting supervisors and line managers with a shortfall in requisite skills.

I was also disappointed to discover that in terms of individual and team learning diagnostics, there had been little progress since I was Head of Training and Development in my last employed role in 1990!  ‘Plan, do, check’, Belbin Team Roles, LSQ and MBTI were still the tools of choice among the majority.

A common need across sectors was enabling leaders to think “in a more strategic and future-focussed way” with an emphasis on creativity and innovation.  Paradoxically, and disappointingly, only a small percentage of L & D professionals in organisations drew on the research and influences from social psychology, neuro-science, economics, computing and the natural sciences.

With my marketeer’s hat on I was also very keen when digesting the report to pick up on, and take inspiration from, the findings and the implications for the future prosperity of the many 1000s of freelance trainers and training business owners in the UK and beyond. So the section on the Economic Situation and Trending Spend was the crucial element for me.

Whilst most organisations with 250+ employees still have a training budget, half of the survey respondents reported that their economic status had decreased in the last year.  The median training spend annually per employee is down from £350 in the last year to £276. Worryingly, a third of organisations in the public sector reported decline in L & TD resources, with a similar number contracting down the number of external suppliers and shifting to in-house provision.  22% had closed or pruned down their training facilities.  As expected, the situation is difficult in the Public Sector and here was the greatest pessimism when looking forwards at L & TD funding.

With pessimism however comes opportunity.  Along with the need to polish the act with leadership and managerial skills, strategic thinking, innovation and creativity the findings highlight a drive towards greater congruence between coaching, organisational development and performance management.  What is also apparent is that clients are going to be looking for those of us who can transform the stagnant team, raise the bar higher still with the high performers and assist with holistic, joined up thinking in the L & TD arena.

The in-house development programme/workshop and coaching still hold pride of place for effectiveness  in the L & TD toolbox in most organisations.  Increasingly, though, these will be held to account, along with all the other interventions we all offer.   So, as external providers, we also need to be creative, innovative and forward-thinking.  Amid the sea of competition in a contracting marketplace,  we must identify our niche. But that’s not enough.  Like our L & TD clients, we also have to raise our game.  We need to innovate, take advantage of our vast knowledge, skills and talents and develop ever more powerful learning solutions with a razor-sharp focus that deliver, give value-add, impact positively on the bottom line and stick. 

That way we will become the ‘go-to’ person rather than the ‘has-been’. 


Alison Miles-Jenkins
Founder & CEO
How to Market Training

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