Training 'a waste of time', say one in three workers

Jan 20 2006 by Nic Paton Print This Article

It may be a welcome break from the daily grind, but according to one in three U.S workers, their most recent employer-provided training was a waste of time.

The poll of 1,674 employees by consultancy Hudson found that 12 per cent of workers felt their most recent training session was a total waste of time.

But 60 per cent reported their last exposure to learning was a good or great use of their time, some consolation for organisations that collectively spend more than $51 billion (£29 billion) in training programmes each year, said Hudson.

Fifty-one per cent of workers polled attended company-led or -paid programmes last year and another 50 per cent were considering further education or training to further their career this year.

Self-improvement appeared to be a strong motivating factor, cited by 68 per cent of employees, who said they attended the most recent session because they thought it would provide useful, job-related information. Another 26 per cent said they were required to attend.

"Workplace training can be an invaluable tool to help recruit, retain and develop employees, but not if done offhand or as an afterthought," said Alicia Barker, vice president of human resources, Hudson North America.

"Ineffective training is more of a burden than anything to most workers, but thoughtful programs give them the tools and knowledge they need and want to help them progress further and faster in the careers," she added.

The survey also showed that workers were divided on how they approached their career path, with 49 per cent saying they had a definite career strategy and 42 per cent simply considering opportunities as they became available.

Striking differences regarding both training and career planning emerged based on age and income.

Generally speaking, the younger the worker, the more likely they were to have a thought-out career plan and to seek out career-enhancing training.

Workers aged 18-39 were among the most eager to participate in future programmes, as were those making the lowest income.

But companies generally invested more money in training higher income workers, with nearly twice as many making more than $100,000 (£57,000) having received training than those making under $20,000 (£11,000).

Employees earning more than $60,000 (£34,000) per year and middle-aged workers were more likely to have participated in training programmes than others.