Headlines: April 23rd, 2004

Thirty per cent of public sector training managers reported that their training budget had decreased last year as compared to 27% in the private sector. The disparity between the sectors becomes more pronounced in expectations for next year. In the public sector 26% of managers expect the budget to decrease compared to only 17% in the private sector. Private sector investment in training is being fuelled by fears of skills shortages. These are key findings of the Training and Development Survey 2004 conducted by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.Jessica Rolph, CIPD Learning, Training and Development Adviser, said: “The Government has invested heavily in public services over the last year, and yet training budgets appear to have fallen. As the private sector recovers, competition in the labour market can only increase, so reductions in public sector training budgets are ill advised. It would be ironic if the Government’s investment in public services were to be undermined by a focus on pay rather than training, leading to services suffering because the public sector is failing to equip staff with the skills to do the job.”

Respondents to the survey gave higher ratings to immediate job demands, such as improvements in competence, 62% said this was “a great benefit”, behavioural skills 61%, technical skills 61% and quality of service 61%. By contrast, general organisational benefits received lower ratings, for example job satisfaction 33%, staff retention 29% and raised commitment 27%.