Is Skills Training on the Decline in the US?

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Employer-sponsored training plays an important part at all levels of business. On the individual scale, employee-sponsored training can improve productivity and expand employee skills. In turn, a well-trained workforce can improve the performance and efficiency of a business. Broadly speaking, if a majority of businesses adopt employer-sponsored training, the economy as a whole becomes more competitive. In his paper published in the March 2016 issue of ILR Review, Did Employers in the United States Back Away from Skills Training During the Early 2000s? C. Jeffrey Waddoups discusses the decline of employer-paid training in the United States during the 2000s, and what implications this holds for employees and businesses.

Dr. Waddoups offered this quick insight into his research and findings:

Employers’ investments in training are an important source of human capital, which enhances the productivity of workers and firms, and increases the competitiveness of our economy. My research finds a troubling decline in such ILR_72ppiRGB_powerpointtraining between 2001 and 2009. Although workers are more trainable than ever, as evidenced by their increased educational attainment, firms — especially large firms —  have nevertheless reduced their commitment to training over the period.

The abstract from his paper:

A number of recent studies suggest that employer-paid training is on the decline in the United States. The present study provides empirical evidence on the issue by analyzing data on employer-paid training from the Survey of Income and Program Participation, a nationally representative data set. The findings reveal a 28% decline in the incidence of training between 2001 and 2009. Very few industries were immune from the decline, and the pattern was evident across occupation, education, age, job-tenure, and demographic groups. A decomposition of the difference in training incidence reveals a diminishing large-firm training effect. In addition, the workforce appears to have had the educational credentials by 2009 that, had they occurred in 2001, would have led to substantially more training.

You can read Did Employers in the United States Back Away from Skills Training During the Early 2000s? from ILR Review free for the next two weeks by clicking here. Want to know all about the latest research from ILR Review? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!


Jeff WaddoupsJeff Waddoups is a professor in the Economics Department at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where is currently serving as department chair and teaches courses in labor economics, macroeconomics, health economics, and statistics. He has published articles on several topics in labor economics and industrial relations, including collective bargaining in the hospitality and gaming industries, the incidence and determinants of job training, the impact of responsible contracting policies on construction costs, and public subsidies to low-wage employers through uncompensated medical care costs. Waddoups graduated in 1989 with a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Utah.

This entry was posted in Employees, employers, Teaching & Learning and tagged , , , , by Cynthia Nalevanko, Senior Editor, SAGE Publishing. Bookmark the permalink.

About Cynthia Nalevanko, Senior Editor, SAGE Publishing

Founded in 1965, SAGE is the world’s leading independent academic and professional publisher. Known for our commitment to quality and innovation, SAGE has helped inform and educate a global community of scholars, practitioners, researchers, and students across a broad range of subject areas. With over 1500 employees globally from principal offices in Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore, Washington DC, and Melburne, our publishing program includes more than 1000 journals and over 900 books, reference works and databases a year in business, humanities, social sciences, science, technology and medicine. Believing passionately that engaged scholarship lies at the heart of any healthy society and that education is intrinsically valuable, SAGE aims to be the world’s leading independent academic and professional publisher. This means playing a creative role in society by disseminating teaching and research on a global scale, the cornerstones of which are good, long-term relationships, a focus on our markets, and an ability to combine quality and innovation. Leading authors, editors and societies should feel that SAGE is their natural home: we believe in meeting the range of their needs, and in publishing the best of their work. We are a growing company, and our financial success comes from thinking creatively about our markets and actively responding to the needs of our customers.

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