Last updated: 22.04.14

The complicated relationship between economy and training

After nearly six years of falling real wages, UK weekly earnings have risen by enough to catch up with inflation, according to the Office for National Statistics, which reported last week that wages including bonuses were up by 1.7 per cent in the 12 months to February - matching the Consumer Price Index, which stood at the same level in February.

With CPI falling further in March and weekly wages having risen in recent months, headlines last week proclaimed that earnings are now once more growing quicker than cost-of-living increases. Since the start of the recession, the UK has been in continued economic turmoil, but this latest development is heralded by some economists as another sign - along with rising consumer confidence scores - that recovery is well underway.

The tightening of consumer and corporate belts over the past five years has been felt in some areas more keenly than others, with training budgets coming under increased pressure - despite continual calls for more investment in staff development by companies in order to bridge the mounting talent gap. Although a recovering economy is good news for training budgets, Training Zone's Robin Hoyle notes that there is not a straightforward relationship between the two.

In fact, he points to the most recent Learning and Talent Development report from the CIPD, for 2013, which indicated that training continues to be an area of belt tightening for many companies - with eight per cent expecting to increase learning and development resources, while 42 anticipate no change and 57 per cent actually expecting lower levels of spending in the current year.

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