News story

Latest survey highlights learning sector’s highs and lows

Stoke Prior, UKLearning NewsBlue Eskimo

The 2016 benchmark study from specialist recruitment consultant Blue Eskimo has revealed that more than three quarters of the UK’s learning professionals wish to change jobs – despite being happy in their roles.

Summary results from this year's survey

The learning professional’s annual work and salary survey, released today by Blue Eskimo reveals that the numbers looking to change role are at an all-time high, up from 67% in last year’s survey to 78% this year.

Now in its eighth year, Blue Eskimo’s benchmark study was conducted among 694 learning professionals (predominantly UK-based and working across all levels of training, e-learning and L&D departments) from November to December 2015.

The top reason for wanting to change job this year for almost a third (31%) of respondents is the desire for a more interesting role, up from 28% in last year’s study. Almost half of respondents (44%) said they do not feel stretched or challenged in their current role, up from 37% in the previous year. More pay (23%) and better career prospects (16%) are the next most popular motivations to move job.

Pay levels across the permanent marketplace remain broadly static. Around half (51%) of respondents did not receive a pay rise. 46% of respondents feel their current pay is lower than the industry average compared with 38% in the previous year’s study. Meanwhile, contractor rates are rising with 37% of contractors now earning over £400 per day compared to 31% previously.

Commenting on this year’s findings, Nick Bate, director at Blue Eskimo, said: “People are increasingly dissatisfied with both a lack of challenges and static pay – and are seeking to resolve this by moving to a new employer. Employees are in the driving seat, now that economic woes are in the rear-view mirror, so they are more confident to make the leap to new pastures.”

While pay has not moved much this year, more people are receiving variable benefits such as bonuses, share options and car allowances. This indicates an improvement in company performance and that organisations are offering more competitive benefits packages in the quest to attract and retain the best talent. 

“As the market continues to pick up, organisations are going to need to think even more creatively about how they are going to retain their existing talent and attract new blood to fuel growth. While competitive pay and benefits packages are important, what people want more than anything is an exciting role where they feel challenged and stretched,”said Bate.  

“With this year’s survey showing that e-learning and in-house L&D roles are the most popular destinations for job seekers, it’s clear that employees see these areas as where the most interesting and challenging roles are, and the most likely cause of this is the opportunity to get involved with the adoption of new technologies for learning,” he concluded.

The learning industry remains a well-paid sector, with 73% of respondents earning above £30,000 – compared with the UK national average of £26,500 (according to the Office for National Statistics). Employee commitment levels remain high, evidenced by an increase in working hours with 38% of people now putting in more than 5 hours of unpaid extra work each week compared with 31% last year.

The in-depth benchmark survey findings are available from Blue Eskimo’s website:

Blue Eskimo is on stand M13 at Learning Technologies conference and exhibition, 3–4 February 2016 at Olympia, London.

Summary of key findings:

  • 78% of respondents want to change jobs in the next 12 months (up from 67% in last year’s survey and 63% the year before), with the main reasons being to secure a more interesting role (31%), more money (23%) and better career prospects (16%).
  • People are feeling less challenged in their current roles. 44% said they do not feel stretched or challenged, up from 37% in last year’s study.
  • Levels of pay within the permanent market have continued to remain broadly static. More than half (51%) of respondents did not receive a pay rise this year; 30% received a rise in line with inflation while 19% received a rise above inflation.
  • This year’s survey shows a dissatisfaction with overall current pay levels. 46% of respondents feel they are paid lower than the industry average compared with 38% in last year’s survey.
  • There is an upward trend in the contractor market with 37% of contractors now earning more than £400 per day, compared with 31% in the previous year.
  • While pay may have been static, more people have received variable benefits such as bonuses (up from 30% last year to 34% in this year’s survey), share options (up from 10% to 14%) and car allowances (up from 9% to 13%).
  • Those planning to change jobs are increasingly looking to e-learning (up from 26% in last year’s survey to 31%) and L&D departments (up from 21% to 25% this year).  
  • 73% of respondents earn above £30,000 compared with the UK national average of £26,500 (according to the Office for National Statistics). This figure is in line with last year’s findings.
  • Working hours have increased with 38% of people putting in more than 5 hours of unpaid extra work each week compared with 31% in last year’s survey.
  • There has been a small rise in those hating or being unhappy in their current job (up from 23% to 26% this year).
  • Respondents are slightly more pessimistic about training budgets for 2016 – 86% of people think budgets will stay the same or be reduced compared to 83% in last year’s survey. 

Note to editors about the survey

Now in its eighth year Blue Eskimo’s study is the most comprehensive work and salary survey in the learning industry and tracks salary expectations and attitudes to work among those working in training, e-learning, learning and development organisations and L&D departments. The benchmark survey was conducted online among 694 people from all levels and sectors in the learning industry during November/December 2015. The majority of respondents came from the UK, with a small number from Western Europe and North America.