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The annual survey of Learning and Development professionals has been conducted by CIPD for 17 years, aiming to highlight the latest trends, identify the challenges and understand how things are changing in Learning and Development.

In January 2015 the survey was sent and 541 L&D professionals responded. To save you time we have been ‘Summarising the CIPD Annual Survey Report 2015’:


CIPD Annual Survey 2015

Summarising the CIPD Annual Survey Report 2015

The role and purpose of the learning and development function

  • In more than 40% of organisations L&D is a specialist role within HR, for 20% L&D is part of general HR duties, and for just under 40%activities are split between HR and another area of the business.
  • L&D is ‘extremely aligned’ with business strategy for 25% of organisations. In 40% of organisations ‘broadly aligned’. 6% report ‘not aligned’. The main barriers to alignment are a lack of clarity by L&D and a lack of interest by business leaders to involve L&D.

Trends in learning and development

  • In-house methods remain most common and the most popular development methods are on-the-job training, in-house development programmes, coaching by line managers/peers. L&D professionals expect these methods to grow.
  • Learning technologies, e.g. E-learning and blended learning, are more common in large organisations, and these are expected to grow.
  • 75% of organisations currently offer coaching & mentoring and an additional 13% plan to introduce this within 12 months. And most expect to increase their use of coaching.
  • L&D content is developed from scratch in 50% of occasions, 40% is adapted and 10% is user-generated.
  • Approximately 66% of organisations offer training to non-employee groups, e.g. students, clients or volunteers.
  • L&D professionals anticipate a closer integration of L&D activity with business strategy and more emphasis on monitoring & evaluation.

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Learning technologies

  • 75% of organisations use learning technologies. The extent of their use varies widely and face-to-face remains dominant.
  • Only 25% of L&D professionals feel extremely/very confident using learning technologies to increase the effectiveness of their L&D interventions.

Leadership Development

  • Most L&D professionals plan to conduct leadership development activities within the next 12 months, with the key areas being to equip line managers to improve staff performance, change/enhance the organisational culture and improve the skills of existing leaders to think in a more strategic way.
  • Leadership is effectively supported by people management practices, yet there is improvement needed on reward and recognition.

Talent Management

  • 60% of organisations have talent management activities with large organisations more likely to do so.
  • The most common activities have remained the same. These are high-potential in-house development schemes, coaching, mentoring and buddying schemes, plus these are considered to be most effective.

The development of L&D professionals

      • Over 20% feel that there is little or no encouragement or enabling of L&D capability.
      • 25% integrate findings from social/behavioural neuroscience into practice, 20% integrate cognitive psychology, and 10% findings from behavioural economics.


Assessing the impact of learning and development activity

        • 14% do not evaluate the majority of their L&D activities, over 33% limit their evaluations to the learners’ satisfaction and 20% assess the transfer of learning into the workplace. A small minority evaluate the impact on the organisation.
        • Learner & manager reflection & feedback are most common in assessing the learning. Other metrics are more likely to be used when the L&D is aligned to the business strategy.
        • 30% quantify the impact of L&D on productivity using a range of metrics from sales, profit, performance, savings, etc, as well as behavioural and cultural.
        • The evaluations are mostly used to review the delivery method and update the L&D intervention. Over 50% share the results internally and only 20% share the results externally.
        • The most common barrier to evaluation is ‘other business priorities’, as well as quality of data collected, L&D capability to conduct the evaluation and ‘other L&D priorities’.

Economic situation and training spend

        • Changes to L&D resources are related to the performance of the organisation with over 50% of the public sector L&D professionals reporting a  decrease in their budget, whilst in the private sector 25% have had their budget increased and 25% have had their budget decreased.
        • The private sector is twice as likely to increase their L&D headcount and more likely to increase their use of external associates, whereas for the public sector the picture is the opposite.
        • 33% of organisations have increased their spend on learning technologies.
        • The future of funding for L&D is mixed with over 25% of private organisations anticipate spending more in the next 12 months, 15% expect spending less and 50% of the public sector expect a decrease in spending.

The full report is available online.

About the CIPD

The CIPD is the professional body for HR and people development. Over 100 years old . The not-for-profit organisation champions better work and working lives and has been setting the benchmark for excellence in people and organisation development for more than 100 years. It has more than 135,000 members across the world, provides thought leadership through independent research on the world of work, and offers professional training and accreditation for those working in HR and learning and development. You can feedback or ask questions of the research adviser Ruth Stuart by emailing r.stuart@cipd.co.uk

Reading the report, what do you think is CIPD’s most valuable insight? Please share your view by commenting below.


Summarising the CIPD Annual Survey Report 2015 from Darren A. Smith (DAS)

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Darren A. Smith

About Darren A. Smith

Darren has been working in the world of UK Supermarkets & Suppliers for over 25 years. He began his career as a buyer at big 4 UK supermarkets and after 13 years he decided to leave to set-up Making Business Matter because he wanted to help suppliers and supermarkets to work better together.


  • Vincent Pere says:

    Great and informative summary, broken down into interesting key points. I find the ‘Assessing the impact…’ section was very understandable with the use of lots of numerical values.

  • Jack Olley says:

    Very well broken down, really helpful in my understanding of the CIPD Report.

  • Jacob Donohoe says:

    I found this a really helpful synopsis of report, but still with a large amount of data. Also including lots of key numerical values which is helpful for understanding and digestion of this.

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