As companies of all sizes and across nearly all industries spend more on learning and development, training managers are constantly challenged with demonstrating that they are using resources efficiently and with high impact on the business. One of the best ways to identify training best practices and areas for improvement is benchmarking. A new study from Bersin & Associates, "The Corporate Learning Factbook: Benchmarks and Analysis of U.S. Corporate Learning and Development," provides a detailed market snapshot with key indicators for benchmarking organizational effectiveness. The study is based on 1,200 respondents representing a cross section of company sizes and industries within the United States.
The corporate learning market grew by 5 percent in 2005, with fastest-growing spending rates in the technology and retail sectors. Spending increases by small and medium-sized businesses (6 to 6.5 percent) were double those of large enterprises (approximately 3 percent).
The biggest percentage of program dollars go to management and leadership training, rated as a first or second priority by 37 percent of respondents. These investments are fueled by succession planning and the need to develop new and mid-level management talent.
Spending per employee varies widely, depending on industry sector and company size. The spectrum ranges from $4,000 per employee in business services to $200 in retail. The average per-learner expenditure is $1,412.
LMS spending is typically 3 to 7 percent of an organization's total training expenditures. Consolidation of LMSs is a significant trend, with 26 percent of large enterprises consolidating or reducing the number of LMSs within their organizations over the last year.
The adoption of virtual classroom technology is high in most sectors. The study found that 60 percent are now using virtual classes as part of corporate training. One-third of training groups report staff increases over last year. One-half say staffing stayed the same, and 13 percent have reduced staff size.
Karen O'Leonard, a principal analyst and director for primary research and industry studies for Bersin & Associates ( www.bersin.com), is the author of Bersin & Associates' "The Corporate Learning Factbook: Benchmarks and Analysis of U.S. Corporate Learning and Development."
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