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Learning and Development Spend


I work in a firm of consultant engineers, with around 5000 employees globally. I'm carrying out a benchmarking activity, and I'm trying to find out (if possible) how much other large companies invest in learning and development, particularly in the areas of leadership and management development. I'm also interested in finding out what particular areas of learning and development they are currently focusing on. I'm interested in all industries, preferably large multi-nationals. Does anyone have any ideas as to where I might source this information? Would any other Training Zone members be willing to share information about their firms with me? Regards, Wendy
Wendy Nicholls

2 Responses

  1. learning spend survey
    Hi Wendy,
    If you are a member of the CIPD you can access their annual survey free – if not you can buy a copy of the full report.

    alternatives are – the International Labour office (they have great international stats – very cost effective).

    If you are looking at a particular then most professional bodies run annual surveys which cover this area.

    In addition don’t forget to search the web sites as they often publish simular data.

  2. Training spend, budgets and benchmarks
    You might like to look at an earlier thread at
    I have looked numerous surveys and reports on this issue including the well-respected Keynote and the LexisNexis-IRS surveys. I am increasing convinced that they are interesting ways to track whether spend is going up or down year on year but they are utterly useless for benchmarking purposes.
    Because so many L&D operations have such dreadful understanding of financial issues (focusing mainly on simple cash budgets rather than managing their operation as a true business), the figures they quote in these surveys often grossly misrepresent real costs. When I say gross I mean gross – I have seen figures given to a survey which in reality are half the actual costs!
    My advice is not to use these surveys for benchmarking but rather to find one or two personal contacts that you can meet up with to exchange data and views. I would suggest you benchmark in three areas:
    1. How the costing is done (making sure that overheads and the less visible costs are included)
    2. Once you are working to the same sort of formula you can then benchmark the spend as a cost per employee, a cost per learning day and the cost as a percentage of either staff salary or turnover. Each of these figures will reveal different insights.
    3. Then look at why there is a difference (and there will be). Don’t be tempted to each level the spend to some meaningless average. If the spend is higher because the needs are greater, fine. If the spend is higher but the training is delivering proportionately higher results, or R0I, then fine. If the spend is more because you are based in central London rather than somewhere cheaper, fine. But if the spend is more – or less – for no good reason, then that is worth investigating and deliberating upon.
    Best of luck


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