Demand for L&D professionals doubles in a year, research reveals

Experts highlight importance of development opportunities amid ‘pressing need’ for businesses to attract and retain talent

Demand for L&D professionals has doubled in a year as companies turn to training to retain talent, a report has found.

The 2022 Workplace Learning report by Linkedln, which surveyed 256 L&D professionals, found there was a 94 per cent increase in demand for learning specialists last year.

The report also found that, in the last year, skills gaps had widened in half (50 per cent) of respondents’ firms, while two in five (41 per cent) said they planned to deploy large-scale upskilling or reskilling programmes in the year ahead.

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The report also found that four in five (80 per cent) employers believed that it was less expensive to upskill or reskill an existing employee than to hire a new one, with almost three in five (57 per cent) stating that providing employees with the opportunity to find new roles within the business was top priority.

Lizzie Crowley, senior skills adviser at the CIPD, said with employers struggling to find suitably skilled candidates and facing growing internal skills gaps, there was a “pressing need to ensure that organisations can attract, retain and develop talent to meet current and future skills needs”.

The research, carried out in December 2021, found two in five (38 per cent) L&D teams expected their budgets to increase this year, with key focus areas for training programmes in 2022 including leadership and management, digital upskilling and diversity, equity and inclusion.

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Becky Schnauffer, senior director at Linkedln Talent Solutions, said it was clear L&D professionals would play a huge role in helping UK businesses retain top talent and narrow their skills gaps.

“By providing employees with opportunities to develop their skills and progress their careers, not only will companies strengthen their talent retention and recruitment efforts in a tough jobs market, they will also boost the engagement of existing employees,” she said.

The research also found that just under a third (29 per cent) of employees would stay in their current job if they were given the opportunity to develop their skills.

A similar proportion (28 per cent) also said they would stay with their current employer if they had the opportunity to progress.