14 L&D And HR Statistics For 2024: Make More Data-Driven Decisions

Gary Stringer
September 27, 2023
September 27, 2023

With the economic downturn, cost of living crisis and rise of quiet quitting, 2023 was a challenging year for L&D.

The question, how did these external factors and the rapid-changing environment affect L&D pros and people in their businesses?

Well, it’s probably best to have a look at the data and research.

In a world with such little certainty and dominated by subjective narratives, it’s never been more important to be guided by robust data.

That’s why, for the third year in a row, HowNow are bringing you the best L&D and HR statistics for 2024.

All published in 2023, these are the must-know numbers without reading every report.

Free Guide: Download the 2024 L&D Trends Report

1. The percentage of L&D teams aligned to organisational goals has fallen 10%.

“Compared with two years ago, L&D strategy is less aligned with organisational and people priorities (67% agree in 2023 versus 77% in 2021) and leaders are less likely to recognise the impact that L&D has on those priorities (67% versus 81%).” - CIPD.

If L&D teams are going to drive performance and get the business closer to its goals, this trend has to change - simple as.

2. 50% of the metrics L&D uses for success can be classed as vanity metrics.

And worryingly, the entirety of the top five is made up of them!

LinkedIn’s Workplace Learning Report revealed the things like employee engagement, completion rates and course numbers still lead the way.

The trouble is, that gives us no indication about whether we’ve influenced a person or the business’ performance. 

3. 29% of employees wait days or longer to receive important information.

Speaking of performance, we can’t really influence it if people are waiting days for the information they need to perform.

Sadly, according to recent Appspace research, that’s the current situation.

People search and ask for infirmity information when they have a problem to solve, indicating some degree of urgency.

Our goal has to be removing friction and reducing the time it takes to get that information.

4. Employees’ biggest tech frustration is inconsistent use of tools across their company.

17% named their biggest challenge as “not everyone in the company uses the same tools and technologies.”

While “they don’t integrate well with other tools and technologies” was close behind with 16, according to the same Appspace report.

Interestingly, 35% also want to reduce the number of apps/tools needed to do their work.

5. Lack of time and engagement are (somehow) still the biggest L&D barriers

The CIPD Learning at work 2023 Survey named lack of learner time and engagement as the two biggest barriers for L&D to support organisational and people goals.

Time is an issue when we drag people out of the flow of work to learn, rather than bringing relevant information to those moments in which we can influence performance.

And if we’re eating up people’s time without delivering any impact, why would they be engaged.

6. 46% of of L&D pros “still do not have a handle on how much they spend per employee in the organisation.”

And there seems to be a lot of factors at play here, including an increased L&D workload, the decrease of external supplier use and an increase in reliance on internal experts.

According to the CIPD, close to a third say their increased workload had a negative impact on their physical and mental wellbeing - so this lack of clarity could be a symptom of people struggling.

7. In real terms, our employee learning budgets/spend per employee have actually decreased

“In 2017, organisations were spending £681 per employee on learning and development. In 2020, when the index dropped, organisations were spending £639.
“Today, the budget per employee is around £705, but, in real terms, L&D teams are working with a lot less (around £131 per employee) than they were seven years ago.”

Source: Mind Tools: Learning and Development in organizations: Reflecting on 20 years of research

8. Employee stress remained at a record-high level

It’s not just L&D pros who are struggling at work, the workforce at large remains a victim of workplace stress.
According to Gallup, 44% said they’d experienced stress ‘a lot’ during the previous day - equally 2021’s record level.

This might explain why 51% of global employees said they’re either watching or actively seeking a new job.

9. The productivity culture problem: 53% of desk worker feel pressure to respond quickly, even outside of work hours.

Just look at these two numbers from Slack’s State of Work in 2023 report:

If we think about those record-high employee stress numbers, it’s easy to see the correlation between an always-on culture that damages employee work-life balance.

52% of employees say a flexible work schedule is the best way when it comes to productivity, but it’s up to companies that doesn’t bleed into people replying and feeling obligated to do so with the same degree of flexibility.

10. People don’t want to leave companies…

Only 9% of people said they were vulnerable to poaching in 2023, down from 22% in 2022,  according to Betterworks’ 2023 Global HR Research Report.

11. … But they need a good reason to stay - and that’s purpose and development.

When it comes to employee priorities, career goals and purpose saw the highest-growth on 2022 numbers - jumping by 15%!

If HR and L&D teams can connect people’s day-to-day roles with the organisational purpose, and provide development opportunities within that, they’ll go a long way to ticking that box.

12. And, ultimately, they’d prefer to learn where they already are! Three in four say this…

Three in four employees would prefer to advance at their current company, but only 48% can currently see a path for advancement.

Support from managers and the wider business are critical to this, but only 38% currently feel they’re getting that when it comes to both performance and career aspirations.

13. Career growth paths and development budgets are propping up the list of success factors provided by employers.

A recent survey of 1,000 UK employees by Lattice and YouGov uncovered what’s needed for businesses to take better care of their workforce.

The good news is that mental health support and flexibility seem to be provided by plenty of employers.

The bad news is that career growth conversations, pathways and budgets sit at the very bottom of the list.

14. High-performing L&D teams verify their content to ensure it’s up to date and relevant

Earlier this year, we analysed HowNow’s top 50 customers with the highest engagement to identify how elite L&D teams drive impact.

A standout finding? 80% of their content has been verified to ensure it’s still relevant and up-to-date.

This allows them to remove or amend resources that aren’t currently relevant, meaning their people aren’t searching through content landfill to find the relevant needle in a bloated haystack.

L&D teams can’t be a bottleneck for either creating or verifying content, which is why these high-performing teams leverage the power of their internal experts to build a bank of useful and relevant content.