- More than half of the 356 HR managers in a joint TalentLMS and Society for Human Resource Management survey said their learning and development budgets have increased since the COVID-19 pandemic, and 67% said they expected this trend to continue in 2022.
- Skills shortages appear to be a primary cause; 52% of respondents said their company faces a skills gap. To meet that gap, 51% planned to train existing employees, while 32% planned to hire new employees. Additionally, most said they would provide either upskilling or reskilling training to workers this year.
- Despite upbeat responses with respect to budgetary expectations, 52% of respondents said they faced resistance when asking for budget approval. Underscoring this, 54% said their organizational leadership often sees L&D as a cost, rather than an investment. The most common annual L&D budgets were between $500 and $1,000 per employee, at 29% of respondents, and between $1,000 and $3,000 per employee, at 28%.
The survey's findings are supported by other recent polling of HR professionals. For example, software marketplace Capterra found in data published last month that 49% of organizations planned to increase their L&D budgets in 2022, compared to 41% who said the same in 2021.
It is perhaps a different place compared to where L&D professionals may have envisioned themselves during the initial phase of the pandemic. In 2020, sources told HR Dive that training may be considered a casualty of budget cuts during economic downturns. Yet others drew attention to the seemingly temporary nature of the pandemic's disruption. Employees, they argued, would still need to be prepared for when the talent market recovered.
Those predictions appear to have captured the current moment fairly well. February survey data from Willis Towers Watson found that the ongoing labor shortage has seen increasing numbers of employers turn to skills-based adjustments within their talent management strategies, such as multi-skilling.
Whereas past research has found evidence of gaps between employees and employers regarding the usefulness of training offerings, TalentLMS and SHRM reported more positive findings. Their survey of 1,001 full-time employees who had received training in the last year revealed that 75% of workers were at least somewhat satisfied with the company-provided training they were offered.
The survey also found agreement between the two sides in terms of training content. For instance, 78% of employee respondents said that life skills training is important, and 77% of HR managers said their organizations were likely to offer life skills training this year. But there were still slight differences. While 88% of employees said it was important to receive "hard skills" training, 79% of HR managers said this training would be provided in 2022.
Employees also offered a number of suggestions to improve training. More than one-third said employers could do so by aligning training with job responsibilities, while 32% pointed to making training more social and updating content more frequently. Among those who said they were dissatisfied with employers' training offerings, 50% said training would be more effective if it was more relevant, and 40% said this would be the case if training was more up-to-date.