Training Employees – Hours Consumed by Employees – PART II

Back in September last year I posted a blog on 2008 statistics on how various industries are providing training hours. I happy to say the statistics include Government this time around!

What’s shocking is the fact that the median annual training hours in Government is in single digits – 6.8 hours – whereas other industries are between 10.7 and 17.9 hours per learner. Why is this? The Federal government is certainly hiring (although I am certainly aware that many state and local governments have let staff go). One would think it might still even out, as people who survive the “downsizing” have to pick up additional duties which may require additional training.

Although most of the categories did see a decrease in training hours, I think it is interesting to note that that 3 of the 8 categories had actually increased training (insurance, technology, and retail)! Perhaps with the economy such as it is, businesses are implementing technology to run leaner with fewer workers (hence the high unemployment rate), and have a bigger need for insurance – requiring this industry to further train/educate their workforce, and/or sell more policies?

Anyway, getting back to the Government statistics – as Government is clearly lagging in training hours, could this mean that government workers are less educated about their job and agency roles vs. private sector? Or is it that Government workers when they were hired were highly skilled? Is there less new hire orientation going on? Has the training department staff been slashed to where they can’t keep up with training programs? What are your thoughts??

2009 stats.jpg

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Kim Holt

We have seen a lot of downsizing in our state government and are again under a hiring freeze. When I joined state government six years ago from the private sector, I was shocked at how little training was available. For my particular job at that time, there was intensive training but the state as a whole could do better in terms of employee training. But as with all departments in the Commonwealth, our HR/Staff Development areas have also seen job reductions.



Thanks for the comment. We too have been in a hiring freeze – 2 1/2 yrs. and probably for another 2 yrs. Our “government university” has gone away in the last year for state employees. Now there is no where to receive training that is needed, and people having to take on new jobs/tasks without training and new hire orientation from our state Dept. of Administration. Our training manager for our agency? None – job divided up and unfortunately many training modules aren’t being taught. Tough all over.


Interesting…that’s too bad. Wonder if there are new ways to get training as it is going down? Maybe e-learning? Internal training – like brown bag with internal experts? Other ideas?

Andrew Krzmarzick

While I worked at the Graduate School (USDA), I kept saying that traditional training methods are going to decrease…and that informal methods of learning will arise. I pointed to GovLoop as an example at the time, and seeing this data I am even more convinced that the ways people gather information and insight to perform their jobs better is undergoing a huge transformation.

I don’t want to suggest that face-to-face or classroom-based training is going away…but my hunch is that a demonstration of competence – and a person’s means of getting the knowledge to demonstrate that competence – will be very different in 10-15 years.

Sorry, students, exams will never go away…but running from class to class on a real campus…well, that could become so 20th century. 🙂

Joe Flood

It’s sad that government is lagging in training hours, especially considering the growing complexities of jobs and technology.

When I was at NOAA, they did a bi-annual Web Conference for people who worked on websites. Staff created the program and put it on in the auditorium. In the DC government, where I am now, the IT department is doing something similar. Perhaps these DIY events can fill in the training gap.

Evan Davis

Is there any way to know if these training hours are all instructor-led training? OR, is there E-Learning (self-service) training included in here as well?



I visited their website to see if I could find out – I don’t have access to the complete report, but they do provide an “Overview” and I found this stated:

Online delivery increased, primarily at the expense of instructor-led classroom training (ILT). Some ILT hours were replaced with virtual classroom training (vILT), which uses a live, remote instructor broadcast online or over video. Self-study e-learning also increased, delivered as part of a blended-learning format or standalone.

To read more – http://www.bersin.com/uploadedFiles/011110_ES_CLFactbook2010Overview_KOL_Final.pdf