Employee career development becomes a key priority for L&D professionals, study shows

19th March by Lee Robertson

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As many organisations continue to focus their investment into learning and development initiatives, LinkedIn’s recently published Workplace Learning Report 2024 provides several useful insights for employers to consider.

Based on the feedback of 1,636 L&D and HR practitioners who have some influence on budget decisions and 1,063 learners, it covers topics including the impact of AI on L&D and learning aspirations for workers.

One of the key takeaways from this year’s report is the rise in helping employees develop their careers. This has climbed from ninth to fourth on the list of L&D’s top priorities in the last year. 

The report highlights that around 40% of organisations have mature career development initiatives, meaning they invest in career programmes that yield positive business results. It goes on to reveal that companies in this category prioritise learning and offer programmes - leadership development, shared internal jobs, mentorship, individual career plans and mobility - that put individuals’ career goals front and centre.

One way that organisations are supporting career development is by enabling greater internal mobility. However, only one in five employees are reported as having confidence in their ability to make an internal move. Described as a growing spark that needs fuel, internal mobility is growing in popularity as learning professionals see its rising potential.

The report advises that “companies that encourage employees to explore and stretch into different internal roles reap higher retention rates, a more agile pool of workforce skills and employees with deeper cross-functional knowledge.”

However, only 33% of organisations have internal mobility programmes so employers are encouraged to seek “the right cultural shifts to help employees overcome common barriers such as bias in favour of external hiring and managers who hoard talent.”

Another means of supporting career development is coaching. The report found that 47% of companies are investing in career mentoring and coaching to boost employee retention. In also argues that in “the years ahead, AI will become more common as a coach, advisor or problem-solving assistant.” But while it cautions that “AI-powered coaching is not the only resource organisations can tap into”, it does suggest that “it could be one possible answer to a problem that’s dogged L&D pros – how to provide personalised career development at scale.”

The report also shares details of research LinkedIn has done to demonstrate how learning drives desirable business outcomes. Its analysis uses LinkedIn platform data to score companies on a learning culture index based on:

• size of L&D team

• rate of employee skill development

• volume of learning-related posts on the LinkedIn platform

It then assesses the companies’ performance on critical talent metrics. Its published findings are striking with it revealing that companies with strong learning cultures see higher rates of retention at 57%, 23% more internal mobility, and a healthier management pipeline compared to those with smaller

levels of commitment.

With 89% of UK L&D professionals agreeing that human skills, or soft skills are increasingly important, LinkedIn concludes its report by highlighting a range of bold ideas and tactics that can help inspire and support a brighter future for L&D, employers and employees alike.