NIACE response to Employer Skills Survey 2011

22 May 2012

In response to the publication today of the Employer Skills Survey from the UK Commission for Employment and Skills, NIACE is concerned over the number of employers not carrying out any training, but believes more can be done to encourage them.

Mark Ravenhall, NIACE’s Director for Policy and Impact, said:

“When there is so much evidence from highly-successful businesses, where training is a cornerstone to their business-model, it is staggering that over 2 out of every 5 (41%) employers have carried out no training whatsoever in the last 12 months. It is no surprise then that half of these businesses are twice as likely to go out of business as those who do provide training.

This survey, the largest survey of its kind covering over 86,000 employers, is a vital piece of the jigsaw in understanding employer motivation to fund learning. When viewed alongside other evidence, including NIACE’s annual participation survey published 11 May 2012, it illustrates a significant lack of training opportunities in the system especially when those opportunities are determined by employment status and between employment sectors.

Giving employees the opportunity to train at and for work improves productivity and motivation across the workforce. Businesses have told NIACE how it increases loyalty, cuts down on absenteeism and turnover of staff. Workers want to progress further in their careers and are happy to mentor less experienced staff.

It is encouraging that half of employers would like to do more, but they face similar barriers to learning as individual learners in terms of time, cost and the availability of up to date information about the most appropriate training on offer. The Sharp Inquiry showed many employers found the landscape of learning providers confusing and complex to navigate. It also showed that providers often offered learning products called qualifications rather than skills solutions to business needs, and were often not involved as co-designers of learning but as passive consumers. This will clearly not work in the new economic context and more must be done to address this with the provision of clear, concise and comparable information.”