How Much Does the Average Company Spend a Year Training Employees?

Training employees is one of the most important parts of running a business. This can make or break how well your company functions and the amount of revenue you make. Since it is so important, how much should be spent on training employees? How do you balance the amount spent on training with the amount that they will bring in?

Every December the Association for Talent Development releases a report of the average amount spent on employee training by businesses in various industries and sectors. The latest report on the average company spending for the year on training employees shows that there has been an upward trend in direct learning expenditure. In fact, 2018 was the sixth year in a row to see that pattern and the number of employee learning hours has maintained a healthy increase as well. The Association for Talent Development published that in 2017 there was an average of $1,296 spent by companies on training each employee (2018 State of the Industry). Despite our leanings toward technology as a society, almost half of employee training is still done in-person or in a traditional classroom training.

It is also important to look at not only the average cost of training but also the average amount of time that employees are being trained for. The trend for number of hours has been increasing in correlation to the amount spent with the average hours for 2017 being at 34.1 hours, the same as in 2016, 33.5 hours of training in 2015, and with 32.4 hours in 2014 (ATD Releases 2016) (2018 State of the Industry). It makes sense that the number of hours would increase with the amount spent, but it is surprising that the hours with in-person training remained the same.
We are seeing that employers are putting more into training as the years go by.

What does this say about the business world? Are we seeing this increase because of unavoidable inflation of overall spending and costs? Or, does this have anything to do with a trend to spend more time training employees? It has been shown that spending more time training can help with the onboarding process and employee productivity, so these numbers could be a good sign of measures taken.