By Stephanie Durand, Head of EMEA at Coursera
As Coursera now works with over 25 companies across industries and markets in Europe, including a quarter of the 27 million overall learners and over 40 of our university partners, we wanted to pause and reflect on the trends we are seeing in the region when it comes to corporate learning.
When looking at the sheer number of large European enterprises, it is no surprise that since the launch of its Business solution, Coursera has partnered with some of the region’s most prominent multinationals such as L’Oreal, Unicredit, Telenor, Danone, Philips and AXA to name a few. Europe makes up about one-quarter of the largest publicly listed companies from the Forbes 2000 ranking, representing a combined $9.7 trillion in revenue and $493 billion in profits, with banking leading the way. At the country level, the United Kingdom places the highest number of companies in the ranking, 90, followed by France and Germany.
With a globalized workforce, shorter average tenure in a job, longer careers, and industries that need to reskill and upskill their employees, European companies are finding a natural fit in offering their employees access to the world’s best institutions and most in-demand content.
Employee satisfaction and engagement to value investment in training
When looking at what companies across France, Germany, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Norway and the United Kingdom value in training, investing in the development of their executives comes up as more important than hiring new talent. Corporate learning is seen by respondents as the top investment their organisations can make to improve business outcomes. However, about half find it challenging to see how investment in corporate learning adds value in ways that are measurable against the bottom line and prefer looking at employee satisfaction and engagement. Those are metrics that Coursera for Business uses all the time with the companies with whom we partner – the ability to measure the level of employee engagement in the course; employee satisfaction through NPS surveys; course ratings, and more.
Interestingly, German and Spanish professionals predominantly see corporate learning as a business priority with potential for positive outcomes. The three European countries that invest the most in corporate learning are Belgium, France and The Netherlands, while the UK ranks 22nd. However, looking at the percentage of companies in countries that provide corporate training, it is highest in the UK (90%), Norway (86%) and Denmark (81%). In the UK, specifically, financial services companies rank high in L&D investment- the average spent is about a third higher than the UK average. Meanwhile, the largest increase in L&D budget allocations was for the development of online content.
In France, which makes up about a third of companies that have partnered with Coursera for Business in Europe, the example of how training is embedded within companies is particularly unique. Since the 1970s, France has passed a series of laws to embed training in organizations with a legal obligation for companies to train their workforce as a percentage of the total salary workforce — which exists in no other European country. Training is mostly an initiative of the employer rather than the employee. Conversely, countries like Netherlands, the UK or the Nordics have a much more robust tradition of training coming from individual initiatives.
Training an aging workforce
An additional specificity for Europe and corporate learning will be companies facing the challenges of an aging workforce. While in the US, millennials are now the largest living generation in the United States – by 2020, millennials will account for one in three adults – in the EU over the next 10 years the number of young people will decline by millions while the number of seniors will grow by millions. The aging workforce warrants a major change in human resource strategies and a new approach to managing age at the workplace. It will be crucial that the aging workforce is not neglected in training and that opportunities for learning are offered throughout working life.
With its ambition of transformational learning and equipping people with skills needed to succeed in today’s workplace, Coursera is looking forward to expanding its work with European companies.
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