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Training expenditures declining in Canadian organizations


August 31, 2009
By Manufacturing AUTOMATION

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Spending on training, learning and development continues to decline slowly in Canadian organizations, according to the results of the Conference Board’s 10th Learning and Development Outlook survey.

Canadian organizations in 2008 spent an average of $787 per employee (or 1.5 per cent as a proportion of their payroll) on training, learning and development. In real dollar terms, this level of expenditure represents a 40-per-cent decline over the past decade and a half. Furthermore, employees in 2008 received an average of 20 hours training, down from 26 hours just four years ago – a 30-per-cent decline.

“Compared to our leading competitor nations, our investment is modest. Furthermore, training, learning and development spending may not be immune to the pressure of the global recession,” said senior research associate Alison Campbell. “For the first time since the Conference Board began collecting this data, more organizations are expecting a decrease in their TLD budgets than an increase in the coming year.”

The report, Learning and Development Outlook 2009: Learning in Tough Times, also provides insights about how organizations use informal learning to augment employee skills. A majority of the 218 respondents believed that more informal learning was occurring in their workplaces than in the past. Respondents estimated that on average 56 per cent of all learning in their organizations occurred informally, a significant increase from previous survey findings. Respondents to the Learning and Development Outlook survey in 2004 said 33 per cent of all learning occurred informally; this number rose to 42 per cent among respondents to the 2006 survey.

More than half of responding organizations indicated that they have altered their TLD strategies in response to growing skills shortages. However, two major groups in the labour force – mature workers and new Canadians – are not being widely targeted by employers for training. More programs for these groups could help address skills shortages in the labour force.
www.conferenceboard.ca