- Even more employers plan to increase learning and development investments in 2022 despite the pandemic, continuing an upward trend, according to a survey of nearly 300 HR professionals by software marketplace Capterra.
- The company found that 41% of organizations increased their L&D budgets in 2021, whereas nearly half, 49%, plan to do so this year. The trend may be in part explained by job turnover; Capterra said 25% of businesses with above-average turnover during the past 12 months were significantly increasing their budgets, compared to 13% of businesses with below-average turnover.
- Budgetary increases are not uniform, per the survey. Small businesses have tended to keep L&D spending the same since 2020, which Capterra said may be related to decreased revenue expectations in recent years. Still, 32% of HR leaders representing small businesses expected to increase their budgets in 2022, a slight jump from the 25% who said the same in 2021.
Upskilling remains a key talent development concern for employers charting a course through the pandemic.
Survey data published earlier this month by Willis Towers Watson found that, over the next three years, respondents projected "multi-skilling" — training employees to perform tasks from different jobs — to become increasingly important. Similarly, a January report by Jobs for the Future and the Taco Bell Foundation found that providing opportunities for employees to build skills and obtain higher-paying jobs could improve retention during a tight market.
Capterra's survey also made a connection to retention. "The Great Resignation — as it's come to be known — has led to an unexpected drain of important knowledge and skills from organizations," wrote Brian Westfall, principal analyst at Capterra and author of the survey findings.
The case for L&D may seem apparent given these findings, but that does not mean all employers have followed suit. For instance, online learning firm Skillsoft reported this month a 55% year-over-year increase in the number of learners using its Precipio learning platform. But a January survey of employees by The Harris Poll and the American Staffing Association found that only 39% said their employers were helping to improve their skills.
L&D solutions run the gamut from restructured training models, such as apprenticeships, to upgrade technologies and mentorship or sponsorship programs. However, many employers have sought to improve access to higher education in recent years, too. Retailers such as Kohl's have joined competitors in covering employees' expenses for tuition, books and related education fees.
HR teams may want to gain a better understanding of their talent needs by performing a skills gap analysis, Westfall said, and prioritizing training content and modules around the skills that will be most valuable to closing the biggest gaps.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly cited a statistic showing the number of employers that significantly increased their L&D budgets in 2021.