Custodian banks, fund administrators and ICSDs wrestling with customers who complain of poor client service need no reminding that it helps not only to answer the telephone, but to ensure the person answering has the right information to hand. So they will not be surprised to learn that communication skills come top of the list of training needs for the financial services industry, according to the results of a new survey out today into training trends amongst UK businesses.
The annual survey, carried out by Capita Learning & Development, a leading workforce training and development business, revealed that the most important skills sets that firms working in the financial services sector wanted to invest in for their staff were communication skills (44%), computer/IT skills (42%) and customer care (30%).
For UK firms generally, 47% of businesses still rate communication skills as the most important area in which to train their staff, compared to just 10% for whom training in business and financial skills was top of their list of training needs. 42% rated computer and IT skills as most important – an 18% drop since last year’s survey – followed by Health and Safety (41%), customer care (34%) and people management (33%).
The annual ‘Training Trends’ survey also revealed that small firms invest much more in training their employees than larger companies. Firms with under 25 employees spent over 400 per head on training this year (up 4% from last year) compared to less than 350 per head invested by larger firms. Small firms also free up their staff to have more time for training than big business, giving them 27% more time during the working day to develop their skills – an average of 6.4 days per employee per year compared to the UK average of 4.7 days.
Commenting on the findings Christine Garner, Managing Director of Capita Learning & Development said, “Since 1994 the training trends survey has given us incredibly useful insights into the training market – and will continue to enable us to understand what is most important to different industries, as well as different sizes and styles of business. Communication skills have come out as the area of greatest interest for UK firms as a whole but naturally the focus changes according to the sector. We were also fascinated to find that small firms were leading the way in personnel development, making a long-term investment in motivation, staff retention and the long-term future of their business.”
Neville Pritchard of Abbey National said, “The averages and trends identified make interesting reading. The extent of communication skill need in a period of constant change is not surprising in itself, however the extent of computer/ IT skill need is worrying given the industry’s increasing reliance on information & technology use. The report enables us to put development into perspective and the year on year trends demonstrate that it is what is done with learning on an ongoing basis rather than the learning itself that will impact on addressing these needs.”
The Training Trends 2002 survey was carried out amongst 821 training and HR directors, managers, officers and administrators, across different businesses around the UK in June 2002.