A staggering 93 per cent of British business leaders plan to either maintain or increase their training budgets over the next 12 months, according to research published today by global e-learning giant SkillSoft. Furthermore, the research highlights the importance that businesses place on their training needs, with just 3.6 per cent of businesses planning to reduce their training budgets over the coming year.

The independent study, conducted by OpinionMatters on behalf of SkillSoft, took place at the end of November 2011 and involved telephone interviews with more than 500 CEOs / MDs with 250+ employees across 13 business sectors. The results revealed that a third (31 per cent) of businesses plan to increase training budgets by 10 per cent over the next 12 months. This figure rises to 41 per cent in the sales and marketing industries, and to 44 per cent in the manufacturing industry. These findings echo the feedback received from SkillSoft’s current customers, reiterating that training staff is still a priority for forward-thinking organisations.

“This research is evidential proof that organisations are continuing to emphasise the importance of training and development. However, many of these companies might be missing a trick – only 6.6 per cent of CEOs polled said that return on investment is the top selection criteria in choosing a training programme. Unfortunately some organisations don’t realise the importance of ROI, as it should be a higher criteria when discussing learning and development. We’re helping our customers to realise the ROI from their training budgets, and it’s about time the industry as a whole follows suit,” said Kevin Young, managing director of SkillSoft EMEA.

SkillSoft offers a wide range of e-learning solutions, including a range of courses, videos and e-books that help organisations get more from their training budgets. The need to reduce the overall cost of training, while ensuring the highest levels of productivity and employee engagement, is one of the key drivers for e-learning adoption in many organisations.