2024 L&D Impact survey

Benchmarking the changing role of L&D in achieving business success​

The 2020s have been a time of ongoing and evolving disruption for L&D and HR. In the last few years, we’ve seen changed working structures as well as in-demand skills, learning cultures and delivery norms for the long term.

But while pandemic worries have very much receded, the paradigm that learning must operate and deliver in, expectations of what (and on what agendas) it must deliver, how it engages and aligns with both learners and what capabilities it provides is still very much evolving. With economic uncertainty, ongoing talent, skills and learner concerns, the meteoric rise of AI, and debates over the best structures of working to drive changes in business and learning, L&D must step up once more as organizations look to the function to deliver in a continuously changing world.​

It means the pressure is on for L&D. The function must deepen and update its approach to organizational and learner partnership. It must adapt to changing learner paradigms, showing new ways to communicate both its offering and worth to secure financial, leadership and employee buy-in on a changeable operational landscape. While many L&D practitioners would want more resources at their disposal, this hasn’t stopped a significant number from progressing to adopt the latest methods of learning delivery, curation and personalization. With many 2024 learning challenges, drivers and demands an evolution, rather than revolution, from 2023, functions are building on both know-how and confidence to deliver again, creating value for all stakeholders. While the coming 12 months ask pressing questions of L&D, the function should be confident in its agility, adaptability and ability. It has stepped up before. It can do so once more.​


About our research

In our 2024 L&D Impact Survey we asked 766 L&D, HR and talent professionals across the UK and North America from a wide range of sectors and organization sizes about the latest changes in the learning and development landscape.​We asked respondents about the changing business agenda, how this impacted both the drivers and delivery of learning and the evolving nature of skills/capabilities. To understand this in-depth, questions focused on working structures, organizational and learning function challenges, budgetary realities, how learning impact was measured, and how innovations, including the impact of AI, influence the learning agenda. We also asked what skills and capabilities L&D is expected to deliver, the learning delivery methods they are using, and whether the function is effective in engaging with learners and stakeholders.​​


2024's evolving challenges

If 2023 was about meeting the long-term conditions of a pandemic-changed world, then 2024 is about adapting to continuous change to deliver on talent management, business and employee engagement, and fulfilment agendas.​ 

Despite uncertainty and challenges over finances — ​6 in 10 respondents told us that the biggest challenges to their business was the economy  — changing working structures was considered the top business challenge overall with 61% of respondents stating this.  ​

The majority of businesses still operate in a hybrid manner (80% hybrid in 2023 vs 72% hybrid in 2024). Yet headline-making tussles over office and remote work are being felt in a widespread way. ​

Any change in working norms means learning must adapt. As such, delivery norms have been tweaked, if not overhauled. Positively, practitioners are doing so across the board. The UK has seen in-person learning delivery grow by 10% over 12 months. ​

For US enterprise firms — where 37% of respondents said work was almost fully in-person — they had the highest rates of in-person delivery with over 8 in 10 respondents saying they delivered in-person learning.​

With hybrid working still the main approach, ​there must be the right blend of content, learning technology and services to do this successfully.​

Impact of measurement

Unsurprisingly, effective measurement is a critical step in obtaining leadership buy-in and showing the worth of L&D. Fortunately, respondents understand this with 95% stating measurement was at least partially important (a rise of five per cent year-on-year). ​

There is also a clear correlation between those who have budgetary bullishness and business-centric measurement. In North America, 37% of respondents measure the return on investment and 45% measure the business impact; there, the budgetary outlook is much stronger. ​

While macroeconomic conditions play a role here, this measurement and budgetary foundation does appear to be freeing them up to be future-looking with learner engagement, wellbeing and next steps. Key strategic steps towards delivery on one of 2024’s top challenges: engagement.​

In the UK, where only 14% measure the business impact, there is more budgetary pessimism, less usage of next-generation learning technology, and more concern about learner buy-in. That said, it is clear that the vast majority of respondents understand the importance of learning measurement. Indeed, over half of respondents want to see improved metrics as a 2024 innovation within the function. ​

Doing so effectively will be critical in unlocking, at the very least supporting, learning which can deliver on talent and business aims.​​

2024 L&D Impact Survey

We asked 750+ UK and US based L&D, HR and talent professionals from a wide range of sectors and organization sizes about the most in-demand human skills, the importance of measurement, the buoyancy of L&D budgets and of course, the adoption of AI for L&D.