Challenges and trends in the professional training market

Article publication date: 31/01/2024
The training market in 2024

2024, a pivotal year

The year 2024 has arrived, and with it new challenges for HR and training managers. Whether it's a question of meeting the challenges of today or those of tomorrow, training has never been as key to companies as it is today, and yet the difficulties continue to grow.

Fast-paced change, the new era of artificial intelligence, tight budgets... Between needs and means, the dissonance is more marked than ever. Against this backdrop, 2024 is already shaping up to be a pivotal year for the training market, as it reinvents itself between challenges and opportunities.

New trends are emerging in response to innovations - such asgenerative AI - or changes in working methods. Economic realities also call for flexibility and the adoption of new practices, such as the advent of social learning.

But it's not just the form of training that's changing; trends are also emerging in terms of content. What skills will we need to develop in the years to come? Which skills will be essential to acquire? Will it be possible to recycle certain skills? The experts confirm certain trends already anticipated, but add new dimensions to the palette of soft-skills.

We tell you all about the challenges, trends and opportunities facing the training market in 2024.

Understanding market challenges

Changes and needs 

It's no longer necessary (or so we hope) to explain that training is vital for companies. The great resignation, the onslaught of artificial intelligence at the heart of our businesses, the obsolescence of skills... these are as many proofs as reasons to train employees.

This reality has been forcefully amplified by new technologies, whose exponential evolution has radically transformed working methods and practices. By way of example, the release of Chat GPT-4 last March provoked strong reactions and meant that employees had to upgrade their skills in record time, in order to at least familiarize themselves with this new super-powered AI. This case illustrates perfectly the notion of skills that need to be updated in the face of market changes, in addition to those that need to be acquired from the outset.  

Around 40% of employees could require skills retraining by 2025 to adapt to the impacts of AI and automation

Source: joint IBM/Oxford Economic survey of 3,000 senior executives worldwide, 2023

It's also interesting to look at the job market, which, like 2022, is favorable to candidates. This trend is directly in line with thelegacy of the Great Resignation and often makes training a real competitive advantage when it comes to attracting and retaining talent.

As far as reconversion is concerned, there has been a slight downturn. If the post-covid period had been the breeding ground for many pro-reconversion speeches, the effect slowed down in 2023.

The definition point

The PTP is the successor to the CIF, enabling employees to take time off work to undergo training designed to enable them to change jobs or professions.

Record figures for training

Sales of training organizations

Graphic source: Jaunes Budgétaires 2024, French Government, 2023

The need for training has also been illustrated in practice. At least, that's what emerges from the figures published by the Jaunes Budgétaires de la formation professionnelle, which highlighted a new record for training organization sales in 2022. The latter amounted to 27.6Mdrs€, up 10.6% on 2021. However, these results must be contrasted in two respects.

Firstly, massive subsidies for apprenticeships, which accounted for almost 60% of the increase. Although non-apprenticeship purchases set a new record, it was far below the previous one.

In 2022, training purchases excluding apprenticeships will total €20.4 billion (+5.5% VS 2021).

Graphic source: Jaunes Budgétaires 2024, French Government, 2023

The second aspect is inflation. The economic context of the period studied was marked by inflation of 5.2% according toInsee, compared with a 5.5% increase in purchases of training excluding apprenticeships.

In reality, therefore, the increase was very small compared with the figures reported, but it nevertheless contrasts with the statements made by some players, who were predicting a drop in training purchases following the health crisis. This did not happen, and only a decline in PTP was observed.  

The budget challenge

2023 was already shaping up to be a complicated year on the budget front: inflationary crisis, cushioning the impact of the health crisis, geopolitical consequences with the rising cost of raw materials... The lights were red and, in the best-case scenario, they will turn orange.

On the other hand, teams have a greater need for training to keep up with technological developments, remain competitive or take on new subjects. This presents training managers with a titanic challenge: reconciling budget and demand. Train better and more, with less. This is where the headache begins.

There are many solutions, such as rethinking the allocation of trainers or increasing the volume of iso-resource training with tools such as Adesoft. But other systems are also being found: shortened training courses, autonomous content curation and consumption, in-house training... We'll explain more about these new trends later in the article.

A dissonant reality, depending on the company

Systemically, the budgetary challenge does not impact all structures equally. While almost 50% of employees claim to have had access to training by 2021, there are major disparities depending on company size or sector of activity.

43.4% of employees had access to vocational training in 2021

Source: Employer training survey - European, French private sector companies and associations, Q4 2021

The Employer Training Survey - European at the end of 2021 showed, for example, that over 75% of employees in companies with over 1,000 employees had access to training, compared with less than 25% of those in structures with fewer than 50 employees. It is also worth noting that employees in smaller companies took comparatively longer training courses.

The average training time for an employee in a company with 1,000 or more employees is 26.1 hours, compared with 32.3 hours for an employee in a small company.

Source: Employer training survey - European, French private sector companies and associations, Q4 2021

These differences can also be seen across business sectors, with nearly 80% of employees trained in finance, for example, compared with 13% in agriculture and 28% in construction.

% of employees with access to vocational training by business sector

The advent of new trends

The need for GPEC

Faced with all these challenges and the constraints and stakes involved in the training sector, it is more than ever necessary to manage the training activity in order to anticipate, optimize and reduce costs. And, between market needs and employee expectations, managing skills within the organization has never been so complex. The need for forward-looking employment and skills management has never been greater.

Reminder: since January 18, 2005 (Borloo law), it has been compulsory for companies with more than 300 employees to set up a GPEC.

Let's take a look at the concept of GPEC (Gestion Prévisionnelle des Emplois et Compétences). This is a method for thinking about and harmonizing employee skills with the company's reality, needs and development prospects.

This method enables action plans to be devised to align skills requirements and support employees' development in new positions.

Employers estimate that 44% of workers' skills will be disrupted over the next five years

Source: World Economic Forum, Future of Jobs Report, 2023

Top skills to develop

We've talked about GPEC, but without really understanding tomorrow's needs... it's pointless. So we need to look at the market, anticipate its evolutions and the skills that will be the cornerstone of growth.

If we look at the studies, the conclusion is unanimous: soft skills are at the top of the list of skills to be acquired or strengthened over the next few years.

41% of organizations have deployed soft skills training in the last 12 months

Source : Soft skills barometer 2023 proposed by Lefebvre Dalloz Compétences, 2023

A quick reminder Soft skills are the behavioral and interpersonal aptitudes of an individual. These are all the non-technical skills that can nonetheless nurture them.

They can be divided into eight main families: cognitive, commitment, ethical, management, efficiency, technological, physical and collaboration skills.

While they are essential to the company, the breadth of their spectrum can sometimes be confusing. So which soft skills should be prioritized? TheWorld Economic Forum's 2023 "Future Jobs " report presents its findings:

  1. Analytical mind(cognitive ability)
  2. Creative spirit (cognitive ability)
  3. Resilience, flexibility and agility(capacity for efficiency)
  4. Motivation and self-awareness(capacity for efficiency)
  5. Curiosity and continuous learning(capacity for efficiency)
  6. Technological culture(technological capability)
  7. Reliability and attention to detail(capacity for efficiency)
  8. Empathy and active listening(ability to collaborate)
  9. Leadership and social outreach(ability to collaborate)
  10. Quality control and monitoring(management skills)

This ranking confirms the reality of recent years, with analytical thinking and creativity retaining pole position as the two most important skills for companies and their development.

In this study, non-technical skills around AI and big data only rank fifteenth. We can nevertheless assume that, over the coming months or years, these skills will climb back into the top 10.

AI at the heart of training practices?

Why will skills around AI and Big Data become crucial? Because Artificial Intelligence has taken almost every profession and part of our working lives by storm. It's not just a question of responding to AI-related changes, but also of anticipating them, particularly in terms ofgenerative AI.

35% of French people say they are overwhelmed and unable to keep up with AI developments

Source: LinkedIn study based on 2040 employees aged 16 and over in France, August 2023

If 2023 marks the take-off of generative AI, especially driven by Chat GPT-4 developed by OpenAI, it also calls for new approaches, particularly in terms of training.

The mechanics are twofold: we train for and through artificial intelligence. The technological advances of recent months have transformed the approach to training, and are now integrated into a number of software applications for Q&A, help center and light training. What was in its infancy yesterday is commonplace and, above all, relevant today.

When it comes to training, we're seeing a convergence between the real and the digital , with augmented or virtual reality, for example, providing increasingly immersive learning experiences and interactive environments.

The emergence of new formats and practices

AI is not the only evolutionary trend in training. Whether it's tight budgets, expected new skills or the multiplication of content, there are multiple phenomena transforming the vocational training landscape.

One of the trends that has been confirmed over the last few months is the consumption of ever shorter and more effective content. Today, training also involves such content. In fact, we are increasingly seeing the combination combination of TMS and LMS. Although formats vary (audio, video, computer graphics, etc.), the objective remains unchanged: to deliver knowledge in an inexpensive, industrializable format.

There's also another dimension to the consumption of short-form content: employees train themselves. They curate and consume content relevant to their activities and missions. Training no longer has to be formal.

Yet this is far from self-evident, particularly as the training market training market is becoming with, for example, the introduction of compulsory quality certification (by 2023, only half of all training organizations were Qualiopi-certified).

New learning methods

Changes can also be observed in more formal training courses. For example, the lecture format is being called into question, somewhat hijacked to propose more active methods, with a desire to reduce group size to offer more personalized and interactive experiences. more personalized and interactive experiences.

The definition point

The expositive method is based on vertical learning, in which the trainer holds all the knowledge.

There are about six main learning methods: expositive, interrogative, active, demonstrative, experiential and heuristic.

The latter led to the emergence of edutainment, where play is at the heart of learning. The aim? Increase motivation and interest by captivating the audience with disruptive approaches that stimulate participants' competitive spirit.