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Dave Evans


Managing Director

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Training Industry Benchmark Survey Findings 2017


What are the key challenges you face in the training world? How will Brexit impact the industry? Which courses and delivery types are proving most popular in 2017? How does your organisation measure up to others?

Every year, we like to take the industry’s pulse, to find out how training professionals feel about the current direction of the industry. As ever, the professionals surveyed for this year’s report come from a wide range of backgrounds and offered some great insights into their current and planned operations, the kinds of courses and delivery types they feel most effective, and how they promote them in a world dominated by digital marketing and online transactions. All that, at a time when the advantages and disadvantages of withdrawing from the European Union, and its effect on training, remain unclear and artificial intelligence and automation continue to reign supreme.

Get our detailed Training Industry Benchmark Report 2017 right here

So, what have we learnt? You can read the 2017 report right here for a full breakdown of results and analysis, but three observations really stand out to us…

It’s getting tougher out there

There were two major challenges that professionals are facing when running a successful training company: Promoting courses against an increasingly competitive landscape. Well-publicised skills shortages across the country mean that training, more than ever, is in high demand – and that leads to more and more professionals setting up training companies.

Despite that, our research suggests that while many find that marketing courses is a struggle, the tools being deployed are ‘old-school’. Reputation and referrals were highlighted as the most effective ways of gaining new businesses, while digital marketing methods, such as Google Ads, email campaigns and search engine optimisation, were shunned. Despite its importance as a marketing tool, SEO ranked right at the bottom; considered the least effective way to publicise company and courses.

The Brexit effect

It’s still too early to precisely tell what effects Brexit will have on the country, much less the training industry, but if the professionals we surveyed are anything to go by, the impact will be negative. 53%, in fact, believe that Brexit will be damaging to our industry. But, much like the referendum itself, the results were close. A total of 47% believed that it’ll either have a positive impact (5%) on the industry or that it will have no impact whatsoever (42%). Indeed, one of the most common comments we received was that it’s just too early to tell. One to watch, then!

We then asked what were the possible advantages and disadvantages of withdrawing from the European Union. When it came to disadvantages, it was a clear landslide: A full 74% believe the biggest problem will be a lack of support from the EU in future. On the other hand, encouraging homegrown talent was listed as the A* advantage of EU withdrawal.

There’s a clear technology deficit

Let’s back-track a bit. Remember those digital marketing tools we’re not taking advantage of? Well, that’s not the only technology we’re shunning. When quizzed about the systems used to managing training, there were three answers that dominated: CRM, a dedicated training management system and… spreadsheets. Yes, they may be clunky, time-consuming to use and ill-equipped for the modern training company, but basic spreadsheets still being deployed by a full 37% of organisations out there.

The technology deficit is commonplace elsewhere too. For one thing, 32% of our respondents claimed that they don’t offer online course booking facilities – a fantastically high percentage given that we can buy everything from comics to cucumbers online. The real problem with not offering online facilities, of course, is three-fold. At a time when internet shopping has become routine, businesses who aren’t offering online booking methods risk reduced sales, a lack of customer insight, and – perhaps most damaging – reputational impact; seen as less legitimate compared to businesses who do offer online booking. That might not be fair, but when it comes to maintaining an online presence, it’s all about perception, as well as ensuring convenience for your delegates.

Want to find out how you and your training company compare? View the full report here.

Author Profile Picture
Dave Evans

Managing Director

Read more from Dave Evans

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