Manager Training Snares Biggest Learning Budget Chunk

January 30, 2008 (PLANSPONSOR.COM) - The largest chunk of a company's training budget typically goes to help prepare a generation of new leaders, according to a new study.

A news release from the Oakland, California-based Bersin & Associates said approximately 21% of corporate training dollars is funneled into leadership development and management/supervisory training courses.

“Corporations are investing heavily in current and up-and-coming leaders,” said Josh Bersin, president of Bersin & Associates, in the news release. “We see an emphasis in this area across all sectors. Looming retirements, gaps in management talent, and economic pressures are causing companies to funnel dollars into their leadership pipelines.”

According to the announcement, 23% of telecommunications training program dollars is spent on customer service training; technology companies invest 29% of training dollars on sales training; and pharmaceuticals spend 25% on compliance and other mandatory coursework.

The Bersin study found that younger employees’ needs are driving changes in learning strategies with a sharp increase in new Web-based and collaborative learning resources, such as podcasts, communities of practice, blogs, and wikis.

The use of self-study e-learning now accounts for 20% of student hours, up from last year’s figure of 15%, the study found. This growth is driven largely by an increase in online training among small organizations (100-999 employees), which are acquiring the skills and technology to make online training a reality.

Overall, the corporate learning market grew slightly from 2006 to 2007, increasing from $55.8 billion to $58.5 billion. The average spending per learner is $1,202, roughly equivalent to last year. The highest spending sector is finance and insurance ($1,061 per learner) and the lowest is retail ($594 per learner).

The study is based on data collected by an August 2007 survey conducted in partnership with Training Magazine . More information is here .