September 28, 2015

UK managers see training as priority

British managers are the most ambitious managers in Europe when it comes to training their workforce. A recent survey by global training provider, The Cegos Group, found that unlike many European companies, UK companies view training as a strategic priority.

The report, ‘The Cegos Observatory’s Barometer: Training and Development in Europe’, highlighted some very interesting differences between UK HR and training managers’ views and those of their European counterparts.

British HR and training managers come out on top in terms of how ambitious they are about training and what it can achieve compared to their French, German, Spanish and Italian peers. They believe their training policy is a tool that will help them meet their organisation’s challenges and objectives.

Here are some statistics from the survey:
– 57% of the British HR directors and training managers polled think that attracting and retaining talent is a very high priority, compared to 38% of French and German HR directors and training managers
– Almost 50% think supporting their employees’ career project is a very high priority, compared to 28% of their French and German counterparts
– 84% think their policy implements the necessary resources in order to correctly identify the skills they need, compared to an average of 73% in the other five countries.

What are employees saying about the training provided by their employer? Eight out of 10 British employees think their company’s policy effectively informs them about the training courses on offer, compared to six out of 10 French employees.

The research also found that British employees are the only ones who prefer group training courses and that they adhere better to training priorities established by their managers. This is something that is not always the case in other countries.

Francis Marshall, MD at Cegos (UK) Ltd, says the results show some very positive signs about UK training. “Clearly there is a significant difference in approach in Britain,” he says. “The data demonstrates that when companies use training policies effectively, integrating them into an active long-term strategy, it can directly increase employee satisfaction and their involvement in training.”

How do the results of this survey tally with other surveys? The Employer Skills Survey 2013 found that UK training investment has decreased by 5% since the previous survey in 2011. That means the UK training spend dropped from £45.3bn in 2011 to £42.9bn in 2013. Furthermore, the spend on training per person fell 17% in that period from roughly £3,075 in 2011 to £2,550 in 2013.

However, Ksenia Zheltoukhova, research adviser at the CIPD, thinks that a reduction in training hours and spend does not always mean a decreased focus on training. “This doesn’t necessarily mean a reduction in quality, as our Learning and Development annual survey data points to an increase in the use of internal training (rather than using external providers), increased emphasis on the on-the-job training (as opposed to discrete courses), and a growth in e-learning. All of these methods are less disruptive, and can account for some reduction in the volume of training,”

What do employees think? A 2015 survey by Ipsos Mori, conducted on behalf of UK company, Interserve PLC, found that 25% of UK employees believe they receive insufficient support from their employers.
Just 48% of respondents to the survey said they received adequate training and development from their current bosses.