• More Than 25 Years of Providing People Development Resources
  • Talk to a Training Expert : 720-804-0994

Training & Development Articles

Home  →  Articles  →  2020 Training Trends

2020 Trends for the Training & Development Industry

For 39 years, the Training Magazine has been publishing an annual training industry report, which typically shows trends in budget outlays, staffing, and popular types of training delivery among U.S.-based corporations and educational institutions with 100 or more employees. The findings from the latest report published November 2020 reflect unsurprising and inevitable changes to training and development trends due to the Covid-19 pandemic’s effect on the workplace.

The 2020 survey divided a total of 202 respondents into three groups:

  • Small companies of 100-999 employees (40%)
  • Midsized companies of 1000-9999 employees (34%)
  • Large companies of 10,000+ employees (26%)

Last year saw a decline in spending on total training expenditures to $82.5 billion – a slight drop from $83 billion total spending. Surprisingly, one-third of the total spending is attributed to smaller companies, mainly due to the large number of them included in the survey.  The overall training expenditure decrease is attributed to the toll of the pandemic on the workplace, although spending on external training services in products increased from $7.5 billion to $10.5 billion. The average expenditure per employee was $1111, a decrease from 2019’s $1286 total, with each employee receiving approximately 55.4 hours of training for the year.

Other significant findings include:

  • Despite social distancing protocols, instructor-led training remained the most popular form of delivery among small companies (37%), followed by blended learning (33%), online learning (31%), and remote instruction via webcast (20%). Midsized companies spent 41% of their budget on instructor-led training, 31% on blended learning, 27% on online learning, and 24% on remote instruction via webcast. Large companies’ spending was similar with instructor-led training at 41%, followed by blended learning at 33%, online learning at 28%, and 26% on remote instruction via webcast.
  • Retail industries on average spent the most on training ($13.8 million), followed by services ($10.5 million) and manufacturing ($2.4 million), with nonprofit organizations spending the least amount ($835K).
  • Outsourcing of training accounted for approximately 11 percent of total training budgets, with the level expecting to stay steady in 2021, although large companies project spending more on outsourcing.

Here is a breakdown of the plans that organizations have for training delivery post-pandemic:

  • Implement a combination of instructor-led classroom training and remote learning (54%)
  • Maintain remote learning (14%)
  • Completely return to instructor-led classroom training (12%)
  • Maintain remote learning and implement new instructor-led classroom training (11%)

See the rest of the report via the link below.

Training Magazine’s 2020 Training Industry Report


Linda Guyette
Linda Guyette has more than 25 years of experience in the professional skills training and consulting industry, providing marketing and client account management for the training experts she represents. She has a 20+ year background in online marketing, content development, and learning management system implementation. Linda was part of the Denver-based team that executed and managed IBM's nationwide Leadership Excellence Series for more than 12 years.

Industry news and announcements

Get the latest insights to your inbox