2011 State of the Industry Report


The State of the Industry Report is ASTD's annual review of trends in workplace learning and performance.  Sponsored by Allied Research Corporation and SkillSoft, this year’s report includes data from ASTD BEST Awards Winners, ASTD Forum Members and other organizations from 2002 to date.  The 2011 State of the Industry Report is available on ASTD’s Bookstore and is free for ASTD members. The 2011 State of the Industry Report findings from more than 400 responding organizations across all major industries show that overall, organizations continue to be committed to the delivery of knowledge and the development of employees at every level. Organizations are just as committed as ever to learning and development (L&D).  ASTD estimates that U.S. organizations spent $1228 per learner on employee learning and development in 2010. Nearly two-thirds of that was spent on the internal learning function, such as staff salaries and internal development costs. The remainder was allocated to external services such as workshops, vendors and external events. 


The direct expenditure for learning as a percentage of payroll has fluctuated between 2 and 2.3 percent since 2001. This year, however, the consolidated percentage increased from 2.2 to 2.7 percent, the highest direct expenditure as a percentage of payroll recorded by ASTD for the SOIR. While the learning hours used by organizations remained stable in 2010, the associated cost per learning hour used increased by 14.2 percent, from $63 in 2009 to nearly $72 in 2010The report also covers 12 content areas. The leading content area for the consolidated group is management and supervisory learning. Manager and supervisory content also registered the greatest percentage increase change, increasing from 10.4 percent in 2009 to 12.8 percent of the content delivered in 2010. The research also found that overall, many organizations are investing in technology-based delivery systems and methods, and the growing use of technology to deliver content—especially through social media tools.


ASTD encourages readers to use this report as a benchmarking tool. Typically this report is used by executives and managers to better understand how learning directly affects employee and organizational performance, and to help learning professionals support and defend the learning function’s importance and value to improving the bottom line.

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