New SHRM Data: America Needs Common Training Metric for Success in the Global Economy

Research results will aid White House- and Commerce Department-sponsored American Workforce Policy Advisory Board in setting goals to measure and encourage investment in employee training

June 18, 2019
CHARLOTTE, N.C.  — Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., president and chief executive officer of SHRM — the Society for Human Resource Management — said at today’s meeting of the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board that more should be done to ensure there is a common metric to track employee training.

“Our ability to skill up workers deeply impacts our long-term economic prospects and global competitiveness,” said Taylor, who holds a SHRM-SCP. “We need a common way to collect information on how employers measure the training they provide. Without this, we cannot make improvements in what areas of training need attention and in worker development overall.” 

He unveiled the results of a survey conducted by SHRM, the expert on all things work, to a board working group on employer-led training. The survey found that employers are clear on what constitutes development training for workers but are less clear on which training should be categorized as upskilling and which as job maintenance. 

“We need to ensure employers and government agencies have the data to consider the best solutions for educating and training workers,” Taylor said. “SHRM’s findings will help us determine how we can set goals and benchmarks for worker development moving forward.”

The American Workforce Policy Advisory Board, co-chaired by the White House and U.S. Department of Commerce, is working on recommendations on how to ensure that America’s students and workers have access to education and training to equip them for success in the global economy. The advisory board’s recommendations will be made to the National Council for the American Worker.

“I’m very pleased with the advisory board’s progress in setting meaningful goals and its work toward meeting them,” said Taylor, who is co-chair of a board working group on the modernization of candidate recruitment, hiring and training practices. The working group has set as one of its goals improvement of the labor force participation rate. 

The SHRM survey also found that more than one-half of employers track the financial cost of worker skills training and development, and that 89 percent track employees’ participation in such programs.

Among other findings:

• 67 percent of employers provide educational assistance to some or all of their employees, and 36 percent of employees at these organizations take advantage of it.

• 42 percent of employers work with educational partners to upskill their employees, while only 29 percent of employers work with local or federal government agencies to obtain skills-based training grants.

• 55 percent of employers do not offer any type of apprenticeship program.

• 55 percent of HR professionals had a training budget last year.

Methodology: The survey polled 1,033 HR professionals, who responded on behalf of their organizations. The data was weighted by company size and company industry to be representative of U.S. employers. The survey was administered May 20-31, 2019, and conducted using an online survey responding method.

MEDIA: For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact Kate Kennedy at 703-535-6260 and or Vanessa Hill at 703-535-6072 and

About the Society for Human Resource Management
SHRM, the Society for Human Resource Management, creates better workplaces where employers and employees thrive together. As the voice of all things work, workers and the workplace, SHRM is the foremost expert, convener and thought leader on issues impacting today’s evolving workplaces. With 300,000+ HR and business executive members in 165 countries, SHRM impacts the lives of more than 115 million workers and families globally. Learn more at and on Twitter @SHRM.


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