A quarter (25 per cent) of office workers invest no time in learning new skills or further education to enhance their professional life, according to new research*.

The study looked into how many UK businesses are offering workers dedicated time to work on upskilling, training and research and development, and how much time UK workers are investing in further education and new skills. Shockingly, the results found that nearly a third (30per cent) of workplaces don’t offer employees the opportunity to learn new skills or invest time in development, and that almost one in ten (nine per cent) workers last invested time in learning new skills for the workplace five years ago.

Project management (41 per cent) was the most popular upskill that UK businesses currently invest in, with over a third of business also investing time in training staff in communication skills (37 per cent) and writing skills (33 per cent).

The best professions for offering employees opportunity to learn new skills or invest time in training research and development are: Finance (88 per cent); HR/ recruitment (82 per cent); Civil servant (81 per cent); Lawyer (78 per cent); Accounts (77 per cent); Creative/ design (74 per cent); Emergency services (72per cent); IT (68per cent); Sales (68per cent); Operational (64 per cent); Administration (61 per cent); Marketing & PR (58 per cent).

When asked how much time per week companies allow workers to invest in training and research and development, over a third (3 5per cent) said less than two hours a week, with just three per cent of employees allowing workers to invest seven hours a week – the equivalent of one average working day.

Lack of budget (52 per cent) was named the biggest barrier for workplaces allowing staff members to spend time upskilling, followed by lack of budget (50 per cent) and staff development not being a business priority (28 per cent).

Mike Price, Director at MPA Group, said,

Employees are any businesses most valuable assets, so it is important that all businesses, no matter what industry, allow workers to invest time in learning new skills or training that will support their career. Not only will this support staff morale and satisfaction levels, it can have a huge impact on your business, particularly investing time in research and development.

The biggest single barrier for businesses is the lack of budget. Using the government R&D Tax Credit initiative has helped thousands of businesses claim back up to 33 per cent of costs invested into research and development, creating the cash required to allow them to invest in their people.

Interested in L&D? We recommend the Talent Management and Leadership Development Summit 2019 and Future of Work Summit 2019.