Over half of small business owners (61%) say the average member of today's workforce doesn't have the skills or knowledge their company needs to succeed, according to results from the quarterly American Express Small Business Monitor. To combat this, owners are investing in training and development to create the employees their business needs to thrive.
The small business owners surveyed reported that job-specific technical skills (52%) were the primary focus of their employee training efforts in the past two years, followed closely by company-specific knowledge/skills (49%) and sales skills (34%). A strong majority of owners (67%) said company-specific knowledge/skills training provided the highest return on investment.
"Gaining a competitive advantage appears to be the greatest motivator for small business owners investing in training and development," says Athena Varmazis, vice-president and general manager, Small Business Services, American Express Canada. "As such, they are placing a greater emphasis in this area when evaluating annual budgets as they are seeing a viable ROI."
Twenty-nine per cent of the small business owners surveyed reported that training and development takes budgetary priority over most strategic and operational initiatives. On average, small businesses spend eight per cent of revenue on training and development, and expect to nearly double spending on training in the future (anticipating and average increase of 7.5 per cent over the next two years).