Published on 2014/05/12

The Corporate Training Market: A Collision of Circumstance and Capability

The Corporate Training Market: A Collision of Circumstance and Capability
Succeeding in the corporate training marketplace requires higher education leaders to dedicate the necessary time and resources to meet the unique needs of these clients.
When it comes to corporate training, there are two things you need to know:

  1. The corporate training market is worth $164 billion.

  2. Only 13 percent of spending goes to tuition reimbursement and only nine percent of corporations maintain a professional development relationship with a college or a university.

What we see is that despite there being a very large market, higher education institutions have left corporate training largely untouched. Now, when it comes to whether this is a market worth pursuing, there are another two things you need to know:

  1. Half of higher ed institutions are expected to experience a decrease in enrollments in 2014. And, in the coming years, the number of traditionally-aged students will continue to decline.

  2. The corporate training market is expected to increase by 3.2 percent annually over the next five years.

Though the higher education community may not appreciate its size, there is no doubt they are aware of the opportunity offered by the corporate training market. So why has it not been better leveraged?

It largely comes down to the fact that most institutions have not adapted to the expectations of corporate clients. Let me explain.

For a long time, higher education institutions served all of their students a single product, and until recently students were happy with it. However, students are beginning to behave more like consumers by demanding a high level of service, attention and personalization. While many institutions are becoming extremely adept at meeting the needs of individual students, corporations bring a far more complicated set of expectations, due in large part to their big budgets, unique requirements and complex decision-making processes.

Many colleges and universities are working hard to provide excellent programs and services to their students, but even the leaders of the pack are often entirely unprepared to successfully manage corporate relationships. Only 16 percent of em­ployers feel there is an adequate availability of col­lege programs tailored to their needs and only 19 percent say they’re satisfied with the scope and availability of partnerships with higher ed institutions.

Corporations aren’t finding what they need at higher ed institutions so they are looking elsewhere to fill their training needs. The reason for their struggle is that so few higher ed institutions have taken the necessary steps to build relationships, customize content and manage all of the other processes that go into effective corporate engagement.

What it really comes down to is this: institutions interested in truly competing and succeeding in this market won’t be able to get away with simply dipping a toe in the water. Instead, they must invest both time and resources in setting up the proper courses, processes and infrastructure to meet the needs of corporations and their unique learners.

To access an eight-step guide on succeeding in the Corporate Training marketplace, please click here.

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Readers Comments

Belinda Chang 2014/05/12 at 11:33 am

I think the next stage for corporate training is moving to customizable training software. One of the challenges of bringing in an external provider is that, even if the training is customized, they are not fully aware of the contexts and nuances of a corporate client. Providing software, on the other hand, that can be customized by the corporate client to meet their needs could address that issue.

anon 2014/05/12 at 4:12 pm

I agree with Kuper’s assessment that corporate training is an all-in effort and not something to be entered into lightly. The issue is that many institutions see corporate training as an off-shoot of their CE unit, and fail to provide dedicated staff and resources for it. That could be why so many corporate clients say their current training relationships don’t adequately meet their needs.

Francis Beyer 2014/05/13 at 12:30 pm

I don’t know that institutions can’t dip a toe to test the waters of corporate training. I appreciate Kuper’s point that a committed effort is needed to advance in corporate training, but I also believe the decision to enter the market should be made with great care. Some institutions may find they don’t have the resources or expertise to succeed in this market only after entering it. They should be able to “exit gracefully,” with minimal losses for both the provider and the corporate client.

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