The Decline in Employee Training Spending: A Short-Sighted Approach


Recent findings from the New Economics Foundation (NEF) have revealed a significant 20% decline in overall business spending on employee training over the last decade. This troubling trend is not surprising to the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM).

Employee Training

Employee Training

The 21st century is plagued by a pervasive short-term mentality. The relentless pursuit of instant gratification has blinded many organisations to the immense value of long-term investments in their workforce. Unfortunately, the NEF’s report has further highlighted just how entrenched this myopic approach has become when it comes to developing employee talent.

The Pitfalls of a Short-Term Mindset on Training

As a leading training provider, CIM has unique insight into the fluctuating nature of training budgets. All too often, employee development is one of the first casualties when economic conditions become challenging. In the fast-paced marketing industry, this quarter-to-quarter mentality can leave businesses scrambling to plug skills gaps rather than proactively building long-term capabilities.

Many training decisions are made reactively, driven by short-term goals rather than a clear alignment with the organisation’s strategic objectives. This disconnect between the training requested and the underlying business needs often results in suboptimal outcomes, failing to address the root causes.

The Value of Investing in Employees

To unlock the full potential of high-performing teams, employers must take a step back and carefully consider their capability development initiatives. The key questions to ask are: Why are we training our staff, and how will this training help us achieve our long-term growth aspirations.

Aligning training with the organisation’s strategic priorities ensures that limited budgets are spent effectively, delivering the best returns. CIM’s CMO75 research identified skills shortages, recruitment, and staff retention as the three biggest challenges facing marketing leaders. Investing in employee development can be a powerful antidote, improving satisfaction, engagement, and reducing costly churn.

The Path Forward: Aligning Training with Strategy

The evolving needs of the marketing industry are a constant reminder of the critical importance of building organisational capabilities, rather than simply reactively training staff. Businesses must take a long-term view, investing time, effort, and resources to understand their skills gaps and align employee development accordingly.

By making this crucial investment and ensuring training is directly linked to the strategic goals of the business, employers can unlock productivity gains, technical skills, and the right mindset to give their organisations the best possible chance of success in today’s highly competitive landscape.


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