Digital Learning Realities Research

C-Suite Buy-in Makes Investment in Digital Learning Three Times More Likely

London (UK), September 2023 - Fosway Group, one of Europe's leading HR-industry analysts, has revealed the headline insights from its annual "Digital Learning Realities" research, in association with Learning Technologies, a leading international workplace learning tech event. Now in its ninth year, the research explores how L&D teams rise to the challenge of a fast-changing business environment and tech landscape.

Crucial to L&D teams is the support of the C-Suite. Organisations in which the executive team believes learning and people development are central to success are almost twice as likely to have seen their overall L&D budget grow in 2023. Even more importantly, an enthusiastic C-Suite is almost three times more likely to accelerate investment in new digital learning projects.

"What our research this year shows is just how important influencing senior stakeholders is to unlocking investment in people", says David Perring, Fosway's Chief Insights Officer and lead analyst on this latest research.

"We all intuitively know that executive engagement is critical in any aspect of business. If you don't have it, I think we'd all say you're going to struggle. But, the research reveals that L&D teams that have C-Suite support are twice as likely to see their learning budgets increase, especially when the economy is so tight, showing just how essential it is for L&D managers to have an influencing strategy for the C-Suite. If you don't, you really are selling all your people short."

If last year's research findings were characterised by a sector struggling to accelerate the impact of digital learning at a time when these same organisations were facing severe skills shortages, results this year offer a more circumspect look at the ongoing focus on skills.

Whilst this year's research has revealed a similar focus on skills, respondents acknowledge the importance of a pragmatic yet holistic view of the skills landscape. It's not just tech skills that are in demand now - leadership and change management also figure highly in digital-learning success.

Other key insights from the Digital Learning Realities 2023 research include

  • 91% say upskilling and reskilling are a top or medium priority for the year ahead
  • collaboration skills match technical skills in future development importance (94%)
  • 49% say their learning platforms are still not fit for the modern workforce
  • sustainability is yet to be seen as a critical learning priority - only 24% list ESG as a top priority

David Wilson, CEO of Fosway Group, commented, "In what once again looks like a challenging landscape for L&D teams, respondents to our latest research are at least aware of the need to improve their digital solutions in search of stronger business outcomes, as well as a better employee experience. And, despite the increased pressure on L&D budgets for many organisations, it's good to see that investment in digital learning has been largely resilient. It's now up to L&D to repay this by raising its game and proving value."

Lead analyst at Fosway David Perring concluded, "We also know that nearly half of companies don't think they have learning technology that is fit for the modern workforce. This might make providers worried, but it's also a great opportunity to drastically improve innovation and adoption of learning technology - IF we start to make the right choices.

"Fosway are playing an active role in many organisations, as we help them make the better choices through private advice. Our research gives us unique insight and resources, but it's the advice our analysts can give that truly helps to accelerate and de-risk solution choices, as well as enables buyers to be more successful faster."