Job-related learning: who benefits, and how much?
This week Dr Alita Nandi, researcher in the Work and Learning research team at the Centre and the University of Essex, draws out the findings from our latest analysis on the wellbeing benefits of job-related training.
Job-related training seems like a win-win: organisations gain from the improved skills and productivity of their employees; while employees may be able to improve their current jobs and increase their chances of career progression.
If this is the case, we’d expect that job-related training increases people’s satisfaction with their job. This, in turn, would improve their overall wellbeing.
In our research, we asked whether the wellbeing of UK workers improves after participating in job-related training. To answer this question, we applied statistical methods on survey data collected from a large, nationally representative, sample of UK residents covering a period of 5 years from 2010-2014.
What evidence did we find?
- Job-related training improves the wellbeing of workers, but not as much as we might expect. How much do we gain? It’s an increase, but not a huge one. The rise in job satisfaction caused by job-related training is comparable to the increase gained from a 1% increase in hourly wages.
- The wellbeing increase is greater in London’s most deprived areas compared to the less deprived areas. In these deprived areas, the difference in job satisfaction for those who take part in job-related training compared to those who do not is much greater than the UK average. In fact, it’s equivalent to differences between sectors. For example, the additional wellbeing associated with being in the health and social services sector compared to the accommodation and food sector in London.
- At the national level, there is little regional variation in the impact of job-related training on job satisfaction. However, we can see regional differences when it comes to how the the duration of training hours affects wellbeing: employees living in the Midlands and Northern Ireland gain more from fewer (1-17 hours) hours of training.
- Job-related training may not be meeting the needs of older workers. Younger workers are more likely to gain wellbeing benefits from job-related training than older workers.
- Job-related training delivers wellbeing benefits for both men and women compared with those that receive no job-related training, but there are gender differences. Longer training periods only deliver wellbeing benefits for men, and generate almost no wellbeing gain for women. This deserves further scrutiny.
This research shows us where the differences are, but doesn’t give us all the underlying reasons. Further research could:
- unpick what is causing these differences, including opportunities for promotion, regional differences in industry, and skill profile
- looking at the patterns for different ethnic groups, as well as people with long-term illness or disabled people.
- explore why training with longer duration fails to improve job satisfaction for women. What is it about longer workplace training which means it is less helpful for increasing women’s job satisfaction?
If you’re interested in understanding how our work impacts our wellbeing, you may also like to download another new piece of analysis from the Centre on what makes a good job?