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Friday, July 9, 2010

Size of UK market for employer L&D

I have been asked a lot recently by a number of clients for benchmarking data on the trends in learning and development. And I have to say the one trend that shows no sign of abating is the exponential growth of assertions unsupported by data...

So I thought I would share some thoughts, where possible supported by data. If anyone has better sources I'd love to hear about them.

Size of the UK market for employer L&D
There is a range of valuations here from IFLL's 2009 figure £2.95bn (which I think is a bit silly) through the CIPD's figure of £6.3bn, UKCES at £19bn to the CBI at £39bn.

Now some of the above are hard costs (cash) and some include soft costs (time off work) but non of them are particularly clear or consistent.

According to the ONS the UK's working population is currently just shy of 29 million. If you take a reasonable average spend per employee of £250 per annum you get £7.25bn.

What percentage of employer spend on L&D is outsourced or insourced? Well it's difficult to get any figures here for the UK but in the USA there are two sources: Bersin's Corporate Learning Factbook and the ASTD's Annual Industry Report. Interesting the the former thinks there is a trend towards insourcing where the latter thinks the opposite.

In the UK one figure I am fairly comfortable (as it comes from NIACE via HMRC) with is that the number of UK companies registered for VAT that describe themselves as training providers has doubled since 2000 to almost 13,000 . This does not necessarily mean that people have left employer L&D departments to set up on their own but it would correlate.

I think that this one is actually a revolving door as L&D departments grow and then are cut back when they get too big and flabby or the economic cycle turns against them.

One source that crops up constantly is the Keynote Industry Report which I gather was set up by some former Reed employees but I happen to find the Merlin Scott report more useful in that it casts its net a bit wider and has better financial analysis. That said you can find most of the information for free if you are prepared to look and it only costs £1 to download accounts from companies house.

That'll do for today. On another day we'll look at KPIs for training delivery.

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