In its most recent research on training trends, the 2007 State of the Industry Report, the American Society for Training & Development estimates that U.S. organizations spent nearly $130 billion on employee learning and development in 2006. That figure includes direct expenditures such as salaries for learning professionals, administration, outsourcing activities and other non-salary delivery costs. The estimate is based on the average U.S. organization’s per-employee training expenditure—$1,083—multiplied by the number of full-time workers in the U.S., which ASTD puts at 119.7 million. The report shows steady momentum for spending on training. In its 2006 report, ASTD estimated corporate learning expenditures in the U.S. at $109 billion.
Meanwhile, the Corporate Learning Factbook 2008, produced by Oakland, California-based Bersin & Associates, contains data on 2007 corporate training spending, which it says approached $58.5 billion. To arrive at that estimate, Bersin says it weights its data to more accurately reflect the makeup of businesses in the U.S., which tend to be small or midsize, while most of its survey respondents were big companies. That weighting could account for the spending estimate being lower than that of the ASTD report, says company president Josh Bersin. The Bersin survey excludes government organizations, while the ASTD report includes responses from public-sector organizations.
Despite the variance, the reports corroborate each other on at least one important finding: One of every three hours of training is now being delivered via some form of technology, and that ratio is expected to climb in coming years.
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