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Training Trends Over 10 Years


Who is the average person in HRD?

10 years ago it was a man aged between 36 and 56. Employed in a company, not a member of a professional institute (but a member of a special interest group – AMED, university group, etc). Been in the role for five or more years and undertaken 30+ days of CPD in his career to date.

Today the typical person in an HRD role is a woman aged between 36 and 56, employed in a company, a member of the CIPD. She has been in the role for five years or more and has undertaken 30+ days of CPD in her career to date.


"Today the typical person in an HRD role is a woman aged between 36 and 56, employed in a company, and a member of the CIPD."

Mike Morrison, director, RapidBI Ltd

So from an equal opportunities point of view, the demographics used to be male (64%) whereas in the latest DTD survey this has completely reversed to be female (64%). This is a considerable change over the past 10 years.

Although there has been an almost exact gender switch over the period other factors remain almost identical!

So what has changed operationally?

10 years ago the majority of training was traditional ‘off-the-job’ classroom based delivery, today it is much more likely to be ‘on-the-job’, e-learning or one-to-one coaching of one form or another. This has had implications for people working in the training and development field and the skills they need to support the development of others.

In the original research 63.7% were employed in company, where as in 2007 the Develop the Developer survey reported 62%. A negligible change over 10+ years. So the perceived trend towards self employment has not been proven in this research.

On the other hand, membership to a professional institute by workers in this sector has increased from 49% to 82%.

Learning, development or training?

In the last 10 years there has been a significant change in the way we talk about our sector of work. We have moved from talking about training and development to learning and development. Interestingly, responders in the DTD survey thought it useful to differentiate training from development (76%) but not learning from development (52%). This may have long term implications...another article perhaps? Do practitioners understand the difference? Have we as a profession neglected areas of our responsibility or have they been delegated to other people?

"Ten years ago the majority of training was traditional off-the-job classroom based delivery, today it is much more likely to be on-the-job, e-learning or one-to-one coaching."

Key changes in training techniques

The results show a considerable change in emphasis in the types of techniques now used. How much of this is down to business need or the dramatic shift in demographics is unknown. Below is a summary of the highlights of some of the initial changes seen:

  • Reduction in the interest and use of outdoor development – from 42% to 30%.
  • Increasing:

    • A lot more focus on creativity techniques

    • The importance of business values

    • Organisational culture


  • Coaching has increased dramatically over the past 10 years.
  • Due to the increase in one-to-one training and coaching, there has been an increase in the use of therapy based techniques in recent years including CBT, NLP, stress management, solution centred etc.
  • In the past there was little concept of ageism or cultural assimilation: diversity and equal opportunities have only recently focused on these areas.
  • Use of intranet and extranet: while these technologies were available, few organisations used them. Now these technologies are the main communication and access channel for development within organisations. Either as the delivery route or management system.
  • There is a definite focus in moving towards business and organisational development, with an increasing trend towards 'holistic business improvement' and a move away from purely individual development.

The focus on teams and team working has changed considerably, with a move from the use of the outdoors to the increased use of real workplace problem solving. There has also been a trend to more inclusive and more collaborative working between customers and suppliers. So, the landscape has moved. Are all providers and users of services keeping up? What will the next 10 years bring?

This is an introduction to some of the findings from the 2007 Develop the Developer survey and a primer for a more in-depth series of articles due to appear later in the year.

Mike Morrison is director of RapidBI Ltd, a consulting and training company specialising in organisational development and the development of high performing teams and individuals. Read Mike’s HRD & OD Blog.


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