21 L&D statistics published in 2021 that will help you win 2022 and beyond

October 7, 2021
June 26, 2023
Learning And Development

If there was ever a year to sit on the edge of your seat and wait for reports to be published, it was 2021! The research and surveys published this year would finally help us understand the bigger 2020 picture, the true impact of the pandemic and how we’re responding.

Especially for everyone in workplace learning, people development and HR! The context of how employees feel, how everyone else is reacting to change and what the experts think helps us understand how effective our strategies are and where we might be going wrong.

That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the essential L&D statistics published in 2021, covering everything from what L&D pros are prioritising to how employees feel about development as 2022 edges closer.

1. 38% of the workforce were upskilled in 2020, compared to 14% in 2019. Why? Because closing the skill gap has become the key goal for L&D programs, with 62% naming it in their top three for 2021.

Source: Udemy’s 2021 Workplace Learning Trends Report

2. That’s likely to continue, as 59% of L&D pros surveyed in LinkedIn’s Workplace Learning Report named upskilling and reskilling as their top priority in 2021. Interestingly, leadership management (53%) and virtual onboarding (33%) completed the top three.

Source: LinkedIn’s 2021 Workplace Learning Report

3. A lack of time was the biggest barrier to learning in 2020, with 61% naming it in their top three hurdles. Budget constraints came in second place (42%), closely followed by proving return on investment (38%) and choosing the right L&D program (31%).

Source: Udemy’s 2021 Workplace Learning Trends Report

4. Perhaps that worry around budgets is misplaced because LinkedIn’s Workplace Learning Report revealed that 33% of L&D pros expected their budget to increase when asked in March 2021. That’s compared to just 22% in June 2020, the lowest amount at any point since 2017.

Source: LinkedIn’s 2021 Workplace Learning Report

5. Hybrid working, and as a result, hybrid learning are here to stay with managers and employees splitting their time between home and office in similar proportions.

According to Loom’s State Of Modern Work Report, employees spend 64.4% of their time working from home, while the percentage is 66.4% among managers. This contributes to an overall split of 65.2% of time working from home and 34.8% in an office. Interestingly, 91.6% of respondents stated they were satisfied with their hybrid or working from home environment.

Source: Loom’s The State of Modern Work Report

6. A third of HR leaders are planning to decrease their budget for the function this year, double the 17% who said the same thing in 2020. The biggest reduction will hit recruitment budgets, with 30% naming it first on the chopping block.

When it comes to L&D, there are mixed feelings. 25% will cut L&D spend, the second-highest reduction, although 37% state that they’re planning to increase their learning and development budget. That’s the second-highest increase behind diversity and inclusion spend.

Source: Gartner’s 2021 HR Budget and Staffing Survey

7. Cross-team collaboration, relationships with colleagues, the team’s ability to do its job and company culture are four areas people expected a negative impact on as hybrid and remote working arrived.

However, the expected negative impact was higher than the actual negative impact. For example, 23% expected their team’s ability to do its job to suffer, while only 11% saw it happen. 19% believed company culture would diminish, compared to 14% in reality.

Source: Nintex’s Workplace 2021 Study

8. More messages are being sent, but the jury’s out on whether that knowledge is being captured. According to Microsoft, the average Teams user is sending 45% more chats every week and 42% more chats per person outside of work hours.

Two things are likely happening here. Repeat questions are being asked, and valuable insights aren’t being saved anywhere when they are sent. And when you consider how much we learn from our colleagues, that’s a headache for L&D.

If only your learning platform integrated with Teams, Slack and your other communication tools…

Source: Microsoft’s Work Trend Index

9. 72% of US executives are planning to invest in tools that improve virtual collaboration, as part of their commitment to support hybrid working.

Source: PwC’s US Remote Work Survey

10. The same survey revealed that employers believe some of the key aspects of L&D have improved since a move to remote and hybrid working.

44% believe collaborating on new projects is better, compared to 17% who believe it’s worse than the pre-pandemic levels. Onboarding was closer, meanwhile, with 38% seeing an improvement compared to 27% who’ve seen it deteriorate.

Perhaps most interestingly, 44% feel that coaching employees to succeed is in a better place compared to 20% who state that’s worse than it was pre-pandemic.

Source: PwC’s US Remote Work Survey

11. 41% believe that ‘working from home means I miss out on learning and development opportunities’, and 34% agree that ‘working from home means I miss out on career development opportunities.”

Source: Nespresso Professional, Workplace Of The Future 2021 Report

12. Declines of almost a third in three key L&D areas. According to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), 31% reported that their L&D budget decreased, 32% said that their L&D headcount has fallen and 31% state that their use of consultants and external suppliers has taken a hit.

Source: CIPD’s Learning And Skills At Work Survey 2021

13. The Learning And Skills At Work Survey 2021 also revealed ‘the top three people priorities for your organisation in the next 12 months’ with some interesting findings. Despite the survey being conducted in February 2021, addressing challenges and opportunities of COVID-19 came top of the list – named by 34% of respondents.

The top five was completed by improve workforce flexibility/agility (21%), improve employee motivation/behaviour (20%), improve line managers’ people management capabilities (17%) and develop future leaders alongside develop career pathways in joint-fifth place (16%).

Source: CIPD’s Learning And Skills At Work Survey 2021

14. 70% report that their use of digital learning solutions increased over the past 12 months, and 36% have seen increased investment in learning technologies. And with a sense of success too! 77% agree or strongly agree that they’re successful in using learning technologies, and 68% feel they’re innovating in the process.

Source: CIPD’s Learning And Skills At Work Survey 2021

15. When it comes to the HR technologies used in 2020, learning tech made the top three. According to ThinkHR, 33% used a learning management system last year, with online compliance training in second (49%) and payroll topping the list (77%).

Source: ThinkHR’s 2021 State of HR Report

16. There are mixed opinions on finding information and sharing knowledge, with the majority in agreement that it’s become more difficult. Beezy’s 2021 Digital Workplace Report asked IT and non-IT professionals for their challenges in completing workplace tasks.

84% of IT pros named finding and sharing organisational knowledge, while the number was 55% in non-IT staff. Very similar numbers (81% and 57%) flagged locating specific files or people with specific expertise as a difficulty.

Source: Beezy’s 2021 Digital Workplace Report

17. Outdated tech is a big issue, especially from an L&D perspective. According to Adobe’s 2021 State of Work report, 68% of workers rely on technology to foster creativity and innovation, while 63% are using it to develop new ideas.

But why does it matter to L&D? Well, respondents stated that outdated tech makes them less productive, less able to take on new tasks, more stressed and less motivated to get things done – all pain points a good L&D platform should be solving.

Source: The 2021 State of Work: How COVID-19 Changed Digital Work

18. L&D’s seat at the C-suite table is safe in 2021. In March 2020, just 24% of global L&D pros agreed that L&D had a seat at the executive table. However, in June 2020 and March 2021, that proportion reached 62% and 63%, respectively, highlighting the impact of the pandemic on L&D’s role and perception.

Source: LinkedIn’s 2021 Workplace Learning Report

19. 51% of L&D pros believe that internal mobility is more of a priority now than it was before COVID-19.

Source: LinkedIn’s 2021 Workplace Learning Report

20. Employees receive more training than they expect in terms of work benefits. According to Raconteur, 3% of UK employees expect a training budget, whereas 11.8% receive that stipend to spend on their development.

Source: Raconteur’s The Changing World Of Work

21. Integration has never been more important for employee learning and on-the-job productivity. Asana state that “amid the race to stay connected across tools, workers switch between 10 apps 25 times per day—fragmenting communication and reducing efficiency.”

Source: Asana’s Anatomy of Work 2021

How can you stop that app-switching and context changing that leave employees feeling frazzled and unproductive?

By bringing all your knowledge and resources together in one single platform, one that integrates with the tools people use in the flow of work.

That tool is HowNow! And we’ll happily show you how if you fill in this short demo form.

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