Deloitte: Dutch midsized business invest little in learning

08 June 2015 4 min. read

Dutch midsized corporates are not significantly investing in educating their staff, a new study from Deloitte Human Capital finds. In term of L&D staff available to educate learners, the UK is far out in front with more 11 per 1,000 learners for large corporates and 8 per 1,000 for midsized firms; Dutch firms only make less than 3 per 1,000 available in large companies and slightly more than 1 on average for midsized companies.

Learning & Development (L&D) is becoming ever more important in a world of changing demographics and rapidly developing technological advances, with employees needing to be brought up to speed on new ways of working with digital developments, be opened up to producing new innovations and talented leaders given the chance to shine. Despite the inevitable investment required, at the end of the line excellence in L&D provides organisations with a tangible ROI, reveals a recent study from BCG, illustrating that L&D leaders (among others) realise a multiple in both revenue and profit vis a vis laggards.

L&D Respondents

Yet L&D is by no means ubiquitously performed across organisation nor might it be, as is explored in a new study by the Dutch Human Capital practice of Deloitte Consulting. In the research, titled ‘Learning and Development trends in the Netherlands: Investigating multinationals’, the consultants compare the L&D practices of the Netherlands against those in the US and UK. For the study the researchers approached medium (1000 – 9,999 FTE) and large (10,000+ FTE) organisations to find out the key trends and developments in the landscape, as well as how much importance and how much investment they garnered.

Targeted learning
One key finding of the study is that the L&D investment in employees varies between the skill and responsibility level of employees, with low skilled and low responsibility employees seeing considerably less investment than managers and professional labour. The most investment goes towards organisation run induction programs, talent programs for the top 100 or 300, management development programs and leadership programs.

Percentage of employees served by L&D organisation

The budget
The level of investment varies considerably across not merely region but also across business size. Particularly in the Netherlands mid-sized businesses are not in the habit of investing the same amount in their staff as their larger corporate brothers, spending around €250 per learning compared to the more than £2,000 respectively. For UK and US participants the larger corporate spend is considerably lower than the Dutch corporate education spend, with both the UK and US at around a quarter of that of Dutch businesses. However in the mid-sized organisational category both the UK and US significantly outspend their Dutch counterparts. The difference between UK and US mid-sized and large organisations is also relatively small – especially in relation to disparity seen in Dutch organisations.

Spending per learning in Euro by organisation size

Staff per employee
The number of L&D staff available per learners also changes considerably between country and organisational type. The results show that the UK has the most teaching staff for learners available, with more than 11 per 1,000 staff in large organisations while for mid-sized organisations it stands at 8 per 1,000. The US has on average slightly more than 3 staff per 1,000 learners for large businesses and 5 per 1,000 for midsized businesses. The Dutch participants had significantly less staff per learners in midsized businesses, with slightly more than 1 per 1,000 learner; and for large organisations slightly less than 3 per 1,000.

L&D staff per 1,000 employees

Delivery methods
The research also explores the kinds of delivery modes for teaching. As it stands, instructor-led training accounts for around 45% of delivered learning, with the method not differing in uptake much between regions. Virtual instruction takes a mere 10% of the US corporate teaching market and around 8% of the UK market. Online self-study is the most widely used by Dutch participants, at nearly 30%, followed by the US at nearly 25% and the UK slightly behind. Collaborative feedback is the most used in the UK, followed by Dutch representatives, with the US closely on its heels. Other methods are used for 5% in the Netherlands, with the UK and US hardly using such methods.

used delivery methods in percentage

Deloitte’s results are relatively in synch with a recent study by McKinsey & Company, which pinpointed formal learning as the main go-to-learner strategy, following on-the-job teaching. 

Human Capital Trends
Earlier this year Deloitte Human Capital released the 2015-edition of its Human Capital Trends outlook, unveiling that ‘culture and engagement’ is this year rated the most important issue overall by HR-leaders, just surpassing ‘leadership’ (last year’s most important issue) and ‘learning and development’.