Towards Maturity data reveals a growing skills crisis in L&D

Early findings from the 2015 Towards Maturity Benchmark Study show that lack of skills is holding back L&D teams.

It revealed three in 5 L&D leaders say that they are failing to achieve their aspirations because of lack of skills in the L&D team.

However, only half are investing in continuing professional development for their team members — a number that so far hasn’t shifted from last year.

Commenting on the early findings, Laura Overton, Managing Director of Towards Maturity, said: “These early results from this year’s study show the scale of the challenge L&D leaders face when it comes to transforming their learning strategies. They want significant change, but their teams lack the skills required to make this a reality. Learning departments will need to tackle this skills crisis as a matter of urgency.”

The findings show that skills remain the top barrier to change for L&D departments. This is despite the fact that more than 90 per cent of L&D leaders would like to provide more flexibility and access to learning. Also to improve induction processes, application of learning back at work, sharing of good practice and the effectiveness of face to face training

However, only a third are achieving their goals. Whilst lack of skills in L&D is a primary barrier to change, others include perceived reluctance from line managers (62 per cent) and reluctance from learners (47 per cent).

Earlier this year a Towards Maturity/CIPD report on L&D skills, L&D: Evolving Roles, Enhancing Skills, identified a range of new skills for a modern team. L&D leaders were planning to build skills in the following areas:

  • Social and collaborative learning
  • Online training and delivery
  • Coaching and mentoring
  • Content delivery
  • Technology and infrastructure
  • Data analytics
  • Performance consulting
  • Curation

The report revealed that top performing learning teams are twice as likely to have these skills already within their teams today. However, the top performing learning teams were not only changing how they approach learning, they were also more likely to have started to bring the skills they need into the team. Yet early findings from this year’s benchmark show that less than 50 per cent of organisations are investing in continuing professional development and one in 10 still doesn’t know how their teams are building their skills.

Laura Overton added: “While it is critical for L&D teams to have the right skills to do the job, is also important to step back and take a new look at what you want to achieve with your team in the year ahead so that you can build the right skills for the right tasks. The Towards Maturity Benchmark allows organisations to compare their current L&D goals and tactics against a framework established by top performing teams in order to identify the priority areas for the year ahead.”

L&D professionals around the globe are able to benchmark their L&D strategy confidentially, for free until 14th August at: All participants will receive their Personalised Benchmark Report in September once all responses have been collated and analysed.

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