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ASTD 2011 State of the Industry Report Finds that Senior Executives Continue to Invest in Employee Learning and Development

Report Reveals a 13.5 Percent Increase in the Amount Organizations Spent Per Employee Despite Economic Conditions

NASHUA, N.H.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--In 2010, organizations dramatically increased spending on learning and development, according to ASTD's 2011 State of the Industry Report. The report, sponsored by SkillSoft, a leading SaaS provider of e-learning and performance support solutions for global enterprises, government, education and small to medium-sized businesses, confirms that organizations continue to be committed to the delivery of knowledge and the development of employees at every level.

In the report, the American Society of Training & Development (ASTD), the world's largest association dedicated to workplace learning and performance professionals found that in 2010 employers spent more on employees' development than ever before. Businesses in the United States spent $171.5 billion on employee learning in 2010, up from $125.8 billion in 2009.

ASTD is offering a webinar to review the report findings on Jan. 30 at 1 p.m. ET. Mike Green, manager of ASTD Research and the report's author, will detail the workplace learning and development trends discussed in the report. For more information, please visit http://www.astd.org/membership/ProfDevWebcast.htm.

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"ASTD's 2011 State of the Industry Report findings clearly demonstrate that senior executives recognize and support the value of learning and development within their organizations," Green said. "Learning and development programs are no longer an optional part of business. Organizations understand that in order to be successful, they need to invest time and money into the development of their workforce, including the technology to deliver learning and training."

The findings of ASTD's 2011 State of the Industry Report show that organizations are just as committed as ever to learning and development (L&D). The report found that despite the current economic climate, the value of a highly skilled workforce continues to rise. Senior executives understand that a highly skilled workforce, and the continued development of those employees, can be a strategic differentiator in today's competitive business environment. The data in the report, from more than 400 organizations across all major industries, demonstrates that learning and development is critical to drive growth and sustain a competitive advantage.

The report also found a 13.5 percent increase in the amount organizations spent per employee on learning and development. While the expenditure per employee increased, learning hours per employee remained the same. This reveals that organizations paid more for each hour of learning content used, confirming that despite economic challenges organizations understand that a highly skilled workforce is a strategic differentiator and they are willing to invest in the development of their employees. Some other key findings include:

"Today more than ever, learning and development plays a vital role in an organizations performance," said John Ambrose, Senior Vice President of Strategy, Corporate Development & Emerging Business for SkillSoft. "The ASTD report supports SkillSoft's belief that training should be a top priority for organizations. Economic pressures, increased regulatory requirements and the need for more productivity have also elevated employee training and development to a strategic level bringing its importance to the forefront. Senior executives realize that in order to compete on a global scale they need to invest in employee development."

ASTD's annual review of trends in workplace learning and performance includes data from more than 400 organizations across all major industries including: a consolidated source of all organizations; a data source pulling from the 32 BEST Award winning organizations; and, for the first time, a data source reflecting 22 Fortune Global 500 organizations.

SkillSoft's training and e-learning solutions deliver a wide range of quantifiable benefits to individual learners and organizations including increased productivity, reduced operational costs, improved quality and increased employee and customer satisfaction.

The ASTD 2011 State of the Industry Report is free to ASTD members. It is available on the ASTD Store.

About SkillSoft

SkillSoft is a leading SaaS provider of on-demand e-learning and performance support solutions for global enterprises, government, education and small to medium-sized businesses. SkillSoft enables business organizations to maximize business performance through a combination of comprehensive e-learning content, online information resources, flexible learning technologies and support services. SkillSoft is on the web at http://www.skillsoft.com.

Content offerings include business, IT, desktop, compliance and consumer/SMB courseware collections, as well as complementary content assets such as Leadership Development Channel video products, KnowledgeCenter(TM) portals, virtual instructor-led training services and online mentoring services. SkillSoft's Books24x7(R) product offering includes access to more than 30,000 digitized IT and business books, as well as book summaries and executive reports. Technology offerings include the SkillPort(R) learning management system, Search & Learn(R), SkillSoft(R) Dialogue(TM) virtual classroom, and inGenius(R).

SkillSoft courseware content described herein is for information purposes only and is subject to change without notice. SkillSoft has no obligation or commitment to develop or deliver any future release, upgrade, feature, enhancement or function described in this press release except as specifically set forth in a written agreement.

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