The UK entered the deepest recession in history in 2020, following a decade of sluggish growth. Coronavirus restrictions led to a sharp rise in unemployment, vacancies plummeted, and millions were furloughed. The pandemic has also accelerated technological change, with increased digitalisation and firms discovering new ways to harness emerging technologies, increasing demand for new skills.
Job-related training will be crucial in responding to these changes, as well as an important contributor to innovation, productivity and wage growth. It also offers pathways for people to upskill and for wage progression. As our previous research has shown, training significantly increases the chances of escaping low pay.
Employers play a vital role in job-related training and development. Ultimately, the main reason employers invest in skills it to meet business need and deliver their business strategies. But the UK has long suffered from low and unequal employer investment in skills, and declining investment prior to the pandemic was identified as one of the likely contributors to the ‘productivity puzzle’. Low productivity and low skills are interlinked.
This report, written with the support of NOCN, provides an audit of employer investment in skills over time. It explores how training varies by type of employer, categories of employee, and type of training.