Employers twice as likely as staff to have positive view of L&D programmes, report finds

Providing development opportunities is key to staff retention, experts warn, as half of firms report project delays because of talent shortages

Employers are twice as likely as employees to rate their learning and development (L&D) programmes as satisfactory, a report has found.

The report by Ipsos and Udacity, which surveyed 502 UK employees in managerial or higher roles, found that the majority (80 per cent) of business leaders in firms offering learning and development programmes found them to be very or moderately successful.

However, the report, which also polled 1,004 adults in the general population, found that just 39 per cent of the 292 who responded to questions about their employer’s learning and development programme felt their programme was very or moderately successful.

The report also found that younger employees had higher expectations of access to learning and development opportunities.

More than half (57 per cent) of 18- to 29-year-olds and two-thirds (65 per cent) of 30- to 49-year-olds agreed that their employer should provide opportunities for skills training. Meanwhile, just 37 per cent of those aged 65 and over, and 31 per cent of 50- to 64-year-olds, thought the same.

Claire McCartney, senior resourcing and inclusion adviser at the CIPD, said these figures put the skill shortages experienced by many organisations into “sharp relief”.

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“Staff retention needs to be a key area of focus for employers in the short- to medium-term,” she said, adding that opportunities for development, flexible working and autonomy were key factors on which employers needed to focus.

This was echoed by Rebecca Durber, director of public affairs at the Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP), who said that the findings were consistent with other studies. Durber warned that around 9 million adults in England did not have the basic skills they needed to progress in today’s jobs market.

“As the economy recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic, it is vital the government continues to invest in the training and retraining programmes that are proven to support employers with the skills their businesses need” she said.

The research, which was carried out in September 2021, found that half (51 per cent) of employers reported difficulty in hiring employees with the right technical skills, while a similar percentage (52 per cent) were finding it challenging to hire employees with the right level of experience.

Similarly, half (48 per cent) of employers said that they have been experiencing delays in their projects due to a lack of talent since spring 2021, while 44 per cent said that retention issues have hindered their ability to complete key projects.

However, a third (34 per cent) also report that they had let employees go due to a lack of technology skills, while half (51 per cent) have also had to hire new employees that lack the skills needed to perform their jobs.

Almost half (45 per cent) of employers have had to outsource some jobs due to a lack of staff with the right skills.

Christopher Moessner, senior vice president at Ipsos, said that the research was a “wake-up call” for businesses. “Employees and employers are in agreement that companies have a responsibility to invest in the future of their employees,” he said.

Moessner added that employers needed to “invest in talent transformation or risk falling behind”. “It’s a win-win for employees who desire the most in-demand tech roles and for employers who are not able to hire the right people to meet current and future demand,” he said.