‘Cost a barrier’ to staff training

by Padraig Hoare

The high cost of courses has been cited as one of the main barriers to firms providing training to their employees.

The costs, a lack of time to do such courses, and a preference to invest in recruitment rather than training were the major factors inhibiting training, according to the CSO report by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) on training courses in 2015.

More than three-quarters of firms provided training for their employees in the private sector, with half of employees taking up such training, said the CSO’s Mary Heanue.

Each employee spent, on average, more than 19 hours was spent on average by each employee at training, of which almost one third was related to health and safety.

The top three skills to develop for the future, according to the report, were: Customer handling skills; technical, practical, or job-specific skills; and team working skills.

The CSO said that of employees attending training courses, 60% were men and 40% were women .

Of all male employees, 44% participated in a training course, with 42% of females employees participating.

In 2015, over 2% of labour costs were spent on training course activity, said Ms Heanue, with half of firms assessing the outcomes of their training activities.

The area with the largest participation in training was the financial and insurance sector with nine out of ten employees taking part in training, while the wholesale and retail sector had the lowest proportion in training with just a third taking part.

Staff in the accommodation and food services sector had 35 hours per person followed by 30 hours in the mining, quarrying, manufacturing and electricity, gas, and water-supply sector.

The wholesale and retail sector were again the lowest on time spent training, with an average of seven hours. Staff in large and small enterprises spent over 20 hours on training courses, on average, while those in medium-sized enterprises with 50-249 employees spent less than 16 hours, the report found.

Of the almost quarter of private firms that did not offer training to employees, the most common reason given was that existing staff had the skills to match current needs.

Over a third of firms said they preferred to recruit persons with the required skills, while over a fifth were deterred by high workloads and limited available time.

Almost 30% had an annual training budget but just 14% of firms had staff representatives engaged in managing the training.


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