Workers who want to keep building their skills and develop themselves are getting less and less support from their employers.

That the conclusion anyway from the economist Timothy Taylor ( He uncovered this interesting piece of data from the recently released 2015 Economic Report of the President. It shows that both employer-sponsored and on-the-job training have decreased over the past 20 years.

The reason Taylor points to for this decline is that with it being far easier for employees to be able to swap employers, there is less incentive for these employers to invest in training people in skills that can then be taken to a new company.

This mirrors two shifts in development activities that we noted in the book:

  • 1.That employers are increasingly using 'self-driven, informal' learning methods to drive development. What this usually means is making learning materials, such as online courses, available to employees and then leaving it to the employees to get on and do the learning.
  • 2.That development is increasingly being left to managers to drive. (And this in the face of managers reporting that they have less and less time to actually manage people.)

What all of these trends point to is how the context of development – the bits that we need to do around development activities to make sure they work - is becoming more important than ever. Both for yourself as an employee and for your team. Development needs all the help it can get.