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ASTD Releases its 2001 State of the Industry Report

Results Indicate Record Levels of Employees Receive Training

(Alexandria, Va.) March 27 - The average U.S. company is training more of

its employees than ever before, more dollars are going to technical skills

training than any other type of training, and e-learning gains momentum

among large companies, according to The 2001 ASTD State of the Industry

Report released today by the American Society for Training & Development

(ASTD).

While the average company is training record levels of employees-78.6

percent-Mark Van Buren, Director of Research for ASTD, said "It's important

to note that the top 10 percent of companies surveyed train 98.4 percent of

employees in their organizations."

"The top 10 percent of companies surveyed, or 'Training Investment Leaders'

also spent an average of $1,665 on training per eligible employee, compared

to $677 for the average survey respondent," he noted. "Training Investment

Leaders have made learning a central focus of organization-wide efforts to

stay competitive and deliver results in the New Economy."

The study's key findings also indicate a few surprises, according to Van

Buren. "The training landscape is shifting, in part because of the rapid

rate of change many firms have been experiencing," he said. "Training, like

any other financial investment, is not immune to changing times. Now, more

than ever, companies must continually demonstrate the value and worth of

their investments in training."

Additional key findings of the study include the following:

* Overall training expenditures in 1999 fell to 1.8 percent of

payroll, down from 2.0 percent in 1998.

"We've seen the growth rate in training expenditures slow gradually

over the past few years,"

said Van Buren. "The latest figures suggest that training was

affected by general 'belt-tightening' or cost-cutting in some companies

during 1999," he noted. Projections for 2000 indicate that the decline may

be momentary, as more than 70 percent of survey respondents expect overall

training expenditures to increase between 1999 and 2000.

* The largest share of spending on training went to training in

technical processes and procedures (13 percent), with professional skills

following close behind (11 percent). Interpersonal communication, new

employee orientation, and IT skills followed at 9 percent each.

"Our results show that for the first time, spending on professional

skills has surpassed both IT skills and managerial/supervisory skills

training," Van Buren said.

* The use of e-learning has leveled off over the past two years in

smaller companies, with the average firm in 1999 delivering 8.4 percent of

its training using e-learning, compared to the 1998 figure of 8.5 percent.

However, large companies exhibited the opposite trend in e-learning.

Among companies in the ASTD Benchmarking Forum, which average more than

55,000 employees, the percent of training time delivered via e-learning grew

from 12.3 percent in 1998 to 13.8 percent in 1999. "After examining the data

from both large and small companies, it appears that large companies are

making the greatest strides using present forms of e-learning. With more

employees, they can reap the savings in distribution costs and travel

expenses due to economies of scale," said Van Buren.

* Results indicate a slight increase in classroom training, up to 79.9

percent in 1999 from 78.4 percent in 1998.

"We believe the growth in classroom training and a leveling off in

e-learning may be an indication that companies are trying more of a blended

approach, or a combination of e-learning and classroom training," Van Buren

said.

* Outsourcing expenditures are down as firms bring more of the

training function "in house" with the aim of reducing costs while providing

more individualized and specialized learning.

The report's findings provide strong evidence of this trend, as

firms spent a decreasing percentage on payments to outside companies (19.9

percent in 1999 versus 24.4 percent in 1998), and an increasing amount on

wages and salaries for training staff (50 percent in 1999 versus 45.6

percent in 1998).

The 2001 ASTD State of the Industry Report is available for purchase by

calling the ASTD Customer Care Center at 703.683.8100. The report costs

$39.95/$54.95 (ASTD members/non-members). Use product code 190101 when

ordering.

Founded in 1944, ASTD is the world's premiere professional association in

the field of workplace learning and performance. ASTD's membership includes

more than 70,000 professionals in organizations from every level of the

field of workplace learning and performance in more than 100 countries. Its

leadership and members work in more than 15,000 multinational corporations,

small and medium sized businesses, government agencies, colleges, and

universities. For more information, visit www.astd.org.