Investment in Training Remains Strong

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ATD releases 2015 State of the Industry report.

2015 ATD State of the Industry report

Developing the knowledge, skills, and abilities of the workforce continues to be a priority for organizations.

Organizations spent an average of $1,229 per employee on training and development initiatives in 2014, an increase over 2013 spending, according to the recently released findings of ATD’s 2015 State of the Industry report, sponsored by Capella University.

Developing the knowledge, skills, and abilities of the workforce continues to be a priority for organizations. The report’s findings paint a strong and consistent picture of the talent development industry. The use of technology is increasing in the delivery of training, but about half of all learning is still delivered live in a traditional classroom.

ATD’s 2015 State of the Industry report is based on a survey of 336 organizations of various sizes, industries, and locations. The findings for the report are pulled from two data sources: a consolidated source of all organizations; and a data source pulling from 30 ATD BEST Award winning organizations.

Key findings are:

  • Per-employee spending slightly increased in 2014, at an average $1,229 per employee ($1,208 in 2013).
  • 13 percent of expenditures went to tuition reimbursement.
  • Direct expenditure as a percentage of profit increased from 7.5 to 8 percent.
  • Employees averaged 32.4 hours of training in 2014. Employees in BEST organizations used 43.9 hours, substantially higher than in 2013 (35.5).
  • The average cost per learning hour increased from $74 to $84.
  • The top three areas of training content in 2014 were: managerial and supervisory (13 percent); profession or industry specific (10.6 percent) and mandatory and compliance (10.3 percent).
  • Instructor-led classroom delivery continued to be the most popular method of formal learning in 2014 (50.6 percent). Technology-based delivery increased to 41 percent, up from 38.5 percent in 2013.

The ATD 2015 State of the Industry report is a free member benefit and is available on the ATD Store. ATD will host a webcast about the report’s findings on Thursday, December 17, 2015. For more information or to register, please visit 2015 State of the Industry.

About ATD

The Association for Talent Development (ATD) is the world’s largest professional membership organization supporting those who develop the knowledge and skills of employees, improve performance, and help to achieve results for the organizations they serve. Originally established in 1943, the association was previously known as the American Society for Training & Development (ASTD).

ATD’s members come from more than 120 countries and work in public and private organizations in every industry sector. ATD supports talent development professionals who gather locally in volunteer-led U.S. chapters and international member networks, and with international strategic partners. For more information, visit

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Kristen Fyfe-Mills
Association for Talent Development
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