Millions of employees are spending more time on tea breaks than on any form of work-based training, new research has found.
The study from the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT), revealed almost a third (30 per cent) of staff (912,513) have never had any form of work-related finance training. Given this situation, nearly four in ten (38 per cent) employees admit they search online to find out how to do their jobs better, in their own time.
The poll survyed 2,000 workers, half who are employees and half of whom are managers working in finance/accountancy-related roles, also found discrepancies between their attitudes towards training at work.
A fifth of managers admit they think training their staff will only help them develop their own careers, not benefit their current role. Moreover, a quarter (27 per cent) believe training is good in principle, but disruptive in practice.
Yet, just one in 10 employees report they seek training to help them move jobs. The reality is almost three-quarters (72 per cent) want to learn more at work to help them do their existing jobs better. Indeed, 46 per cent of workers agreed training would make them more productive.
While managers may be concerned that if they train staff they will leave, the data shows that not providing any training is a bigger risk to staff turnover: 66 per cent of workers would move, or have already considered moving, to another job solely because it offered a better training programme. Only 50 per cent employees would ask about training at their next job interview.
The AAT data also identifies a stigma around learning in some workplaces, with a third (33 per cent) of employees believing that managers should make clear that training is not just for underperforming staff.
This comes as one in six bosses admit they turn to training only for staff who are struggling to perform as required. Coupled with the other findings of the research this means 86 per cent of employees would approach training differently to their current line manager.
Commenting on the findings Mark Farrar, Chief Executive of the Association of Accounting Technicians, said: "The majority of UK employees are spending a tiny percentage of their hours in work improving their skills and abilities through any form of formal training or accredited learning.
With UK labour productivity falling at the fastest pace since 2008 there has never been a more important time to focus on helping our workers up-skill. Yet, there are fundamental differences in how employees and managers approach workplace learning, meaning workers are currently spending more time on tea breaks than training.
"At AAT we want to help employers and their staff to talk to each other about this issue, which is why we have created an online tool to help managers and their teams talk training in their tea break.
Despite the differences revealed in the data, one area that employees and their managers agree on is barriers to training: 92 per cent agree that there are factors preventing more learning taking place in their companies.
For both employers and employees time is the biggest barrier, followed by funding, finding the right training and then convincing employers it's good for business. However, 75 per cent of employees and even 80 per cent of employers concur that their company could afford to invest more in training needs.
The benefits of external training are also clear to bosses and staff: 70 per cent of those polled agreed that it brings in new ideas to a team and business, while 46 per cent think it is better planned and better delivered than any internal training.