The most recent training survey found that 12 percent of companies used such Electronic Performance Support Systems (EPSS), up from 5 percent in 1996. Among organizations with 10,000 or more employees, 28 percent now use EPSS (Lakewood Research, 1997). Outsourcing has also come to the training function. By one estimate, employers spend nearly equal amounts on internal and external training, although larger organizations spend more on internal training (Bassi et al., 1996).

The concern that people may move more rapidly across jobs, careers, and organizations has helped increase interest in lifelong learning, especially as employees come to believe that they will need to create their own opportunities for education and training. Data that separate employer-required from employee initiated training are difficult to find.1 But we do know that the proportion of employed individuals taking one or more courses to improve their current job skills increased from 29.5 percent to 32 percent of all workers between 1991 and 1995 (National Center for Educational Statistics, 1997), a modest trend. The WorkTrends™ data summarized in Table 2.3 also indicate that employees believe that training opportunities have increased moderately for most occupational groupings. And the number of older students in college, most of whom are working or have work experience, has been growing more than the number of younger students, especially among women.

The question of declining job security and stability raised earlier also has important implications for training. In general, firms with higher turnover are less likely to provide employee training. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported from its 1995 survey that establishments with high labor turnover trained only 7.2 hours per employee compared with 12.5 hours for medium-turnover and 10.8 hours for low-turnover establishments. High-turnover establishments also spent markedly less for in-house and outside trainers and for tuition reimbursements compared with the medium- and low-turnover establishments (1996). This trend was supported by the WorkTrends™ data. Whether surveyed in 1985, 1990, or 1996, workers in organizations that laid off employees

1  

The National Household Education Survey acquired both kinds of information but reported them in aggregate.



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement