British Journal of Industrial Relations, 54(2) pp 422-448

The conventional focus on the training participation rate, rather than training volume, in official statistics and research has obscured a radical transformation in workers’ training in Britain. To obtain a picture of the trend in training volume, we synthesize a narrative through a new analysis of multiple surveys. The duration of training fell sharply with the result that the training volume per worker declined by about a half between 1997 and 2012. This fall is hard to reconcile with optimistic rhetoric surrounding the knowledge economy. Potential explanations are discussed. We conclude with recommendations to improve the collection of training statistics.