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8 out of 10 UK workers rate access to personal development above a salary increase but expect employers to foot the bill

Employers have been emphasising the value of a ‘learning culture’ in their organisations and encouraging workers to commit to training and development programmes for many years. Now, the penny seems to have finally dropped, with a ‘growth learning mindset’ well embedded across all segments of the country’s workforce, according to new research from UK personal development and soft skills e-learning specialists, GoodHabitz.

The pan European company’s 2018 Learning & Development Trend Report into attitudes towards learning among working adults, clearly shows that UK workers from all backgrounds not only want the opportunity to develop, they value being given the chance to do so above a salary increase. They also expect to be given time off during working hours to complete training courses and they expect their employer to finance the costs of their learning activities.

“Life is a learning adventure and talented people love learning. Given that the UK’s workforce is one of the most highly educated in Europe, it’s not surprising that people place such a premium on being given the chance to develop themselves over money,” says Stephen Humphreys, Country Director – UK & Ireland at GoodHabitz.   “What’s interesting is the rate at which e-learning is overtaking traditional classroom formats and books, as digital technology continues to transform every aspect of our daily lives.”

Key findings of the GoodHabitz Learning & Development Trend Report 2018


Knowledge is valued 20% higher than salary

Having the chance to develop and ‘put my talents to good use’ was among the top 5 things that UK employees value most in life. 80% of working adults want the opportunity to keep on learning and challenging themselves. This was the finding among people of all educational backgrounds, who agreed that ‘learning is very important to them’.  Among workers who have completed higher education programmes, the figure rose to 87%.  Being given an opportunity to learn by their employer (35%) was also rated as more important than ‘having a generous salary’ (29%) or ‘career prospects’ (22%) by survey respondents.


1 in 5 workers believe in positive psychology

The opportunity to develop new IT (27%) and management skills (24%) are most highly sought after, closely followed by skills related to positive psychology (16%), such as NLP, mindfulness and stress management.  In addition to professional and personal skills development, almost half of UK employees have undertaken some work-related training in the past year (45% of workers), rising to 63% among those who are degree educated.


Over 20% of employees expect to only learn during working hours

Opinion over who should take responsibility for learning was firmly on the side of the employer, with 86% of employees believing that employers should be facilitating the opportunity and investing in their workers. A rising number of people also felt that employers should be giving employees time off during working hours to dedicate to learning and development, with 23% expecting this as standard, a 10% increase on previous years.


Learning habits shift with 60% decline to classroom based study

Although employees expected their employers to support them, both with access to learning courses and time off during the working day to complete training, the majority (59%) prefer the convenience of e-learning to classroom based study (55% of employees). The trend to favour e-learning is set to grow significantly, with just 18% of respondents saying they will be learning from books or in a traditional classroom environment in the future, compared with 50% expecting to use e-learning.


About the study and sample

GoodHabitz’ UK survey was conducted among a statistically significant sample of 826 respondents in the UK, aged between 25-55, who are either working or available for work. The results were compiled by Markteffect BV and are reliable to within 95% confidence limits and 3.4% accuracy.

Download a copy of the 2018 Trend Report