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Learning & Development Industry Report
SA Learning & Development managers exceed global stds despite skills crisis
Wed, 01 Jun 2011 20:42
Release of 8th Annual ASTD/SABPP "State of The South African Learning and Development Industry Report"
Marius Meyer, CEO: SABPP, Robin Probart, President: ASTD Global Network South Africa, and Melanie Bushney, Associate Professor: Unisa
The 8th annual ASTD State of the South African Learning and Development Industry Report has been released. While growth in the South African economy is impeded by the skills crisis, skills development managers have risen to the occasion and implemented exemplary L&D practices in their organisations.
This annual survey questionnaire is sent to a sample of organisations both private and public to determine the state of skills development in the workplace. This survey is generally completed by the L&D departments and in many cases by the skills development facilitator or training coordinator.
This survey attempts to quantify and qualify the L&D practices in South Africa. It also attempts to present a reference tool or front-end to establish a human resource development benchmarking forum for South Africa. A comparison of the results on an annual basis assists in determining the extent to which certain trends and practices have been implemented in the workplace.
The sample size of 472 of participating organisations is greater than previous years and the result are considered more representative of what is actually happening in the workplace.
The essential questions asked of participants revolve around:
- The size of the payroll, the number of employees and the percentage of payroll spent on training
- Opportunities in the professional development of L&D practitioners
- Information Sources and knowledge management
- The implementation of computerised HRIS in organisations
- The prevalence of electronic learning (e-learning) in South Africa
- The needs analysis methods employed
- Training evaluation and measurement (ROI)
- Training and organisational developments trends
- The effectiveness of mentoring and coaching
- The effectiveness of talent management
Respondents could also comment on the training and organisation development industry. These qualified views allowed the researchers to gain a deeper insight into the perceptions of L&D staff in the evaluation of the industry.
From this year the HR professional body and HR Education Training Quality Assurance body mandated by SAQA, the South African Board for People Practices (SABPP) and ASTD Global Network South Africa have collaborated on this project for increased impact and distribution.
This alliance enriches the scope and impact of the project to ensure wider participation and dissemination among its 5000 HR practitioners, of which more than 1200 are registered in the specialist category of L&D. SABPP will use its research team to optimise further L&D research opportunities flowing from this project.
This also means that ASTD members will get access to SABPP research reports such as the following papers that have already been published:
- The nature of professionalism
- Appropriate skills utilisation: The Netcare case study
- King III Report on Governance: HR the way forward
- HR Risk Management.
The aims of this research project were:
- To determine national benchmarks for L&D in South-Africa
- To provide a comparison of national benchmarks with international norms
- To infuse the latest L&D best practices in curriculums at universities
- To facilitate inter-institutional collaboration in the areas of articulation regarding HR and HRD qualifications, as well as research
- To position UNISA, UJ, NMMU, NWU and VUT as active national participants of the HRD Universities Forum (HRDUF) in pursuit of the National Skills Development Strategy III.
Results about key benchmarks
The key findings of the report are as follows:
- South African organisations spend 3,11% of payroll on training (3,13% in 2008 and 3,60% in 2009), significantly above the 1% required by the Skills Development Levies Act, and more than the amount as reported in the USA State of the Training Industry study (2,24%).
- 96% of organisations have human resource information systems (HRIS) in place which is five percent more than in 2009.
- Performance management data (83%), questionnaires (78%), and interviews (62%) are the major training needs analysis methods. Significantly, the use of performance management data increased by 17% from 2006 and moved up from being the third most popular to first place this year.
- Over the last couple of years, there has been an increase in outsourcing. External design increased slightly to 57% in 2009 compared to 53% in 2006. In 2010 the figure stands on 53%, a decrease from the figure in 2009. External delivery increased to 54% in 2008 (52% in 2005, 37% in 2006 and 53% in 2007). In 2010 external delivery constitutes 52%, another slight decline. Internal design increased to 47% in 2010 while internal delivery constitutes 48% in the same year.
- Despite the growth in e-learning, classroom training is still the most popular method of training. Its prevalence has increased from 58% in 2003 to 66% in 2010. The use of e-learning has increased from 17% in 2003 to 26% in 2006 and has grown further to 30% in 2007 (33% in the USA). In 2009 e-learning has dropped to 27% but again increased to 33% in 2010.
- While only 9% of organisations measured the financial ROI of training programmes in 2004, this figure has increased substantially to 40% in 2008. In 2010, 39% calculate the Rand value ROI of training programmes.
- Interestingly, 72% of South African organisations use mentoring and coaching, and 33% of them said that it is either effective, 18% very effective and 30% effective to a certain extent.
- Responding to the prevalence of talent management, 49% of companies have talent management strategies in place in 2009 and 53% in 2010, and 30% of them view its implementation as effective and 11% as very effective.
Regarding differences between the size of organisations and different training types the following can be reported:
As far as differences between the size of organisations and general dimensions in training are concerned:
- Small organisations focus less on Information resources, ROI, HRD, eHRM and HRIS than larger companies. But they focus more on Mentoring and Talent management than other organisations.
- Medium organisations focus less on Mentoring and Talent management than other organisations.
- Large organisations focus more on Kirkpatrick framework, HRIS, HRD, ROI and Information resources than smaller and medium organisations.
The greater sample size of this survey provides a more comprehensive view of workplace learning in South Africa.
The comments of respondents on the training and organisation development industry varied from highly positive with constructive suggestions, to severe criticism.
Of particular concern is a widely held view by respondents that top management only pays lip-service to workplace skills development and that often training figures and funds are misrepresented.
However, there is also the opposing view that the focus on training and staff development, including planning and funding is constantly improving.
There is a need to blend the needs and dictates of the organisational business strategy with that of the National Skills Development Strategy. The need for scarce skilled-staff and the shortage thereof is a challenge in both the public and private sectors and throughout this research prominent emphasis by HR and L&D practitioners are placed upon on this dilemma.
The lack of adequate funding still remains an issue although the percentage payroll employed for training compares favourably with that of the USA.
Be that as it may, despite our education backlog and skills crisis, South African L&D managers have performed very well in comparison with their international counterparts on key benchmarks such as training investment, e-learning, mentoring and coaching and talent management.