In reading the ASTD State of the Industry report, I find the metrics include "Hours Used" vs "Hours Available". It states that a typical ratio would be 50 hours available for every hour used.

If I assume hours used to be the actual number of training hours received by an employee, what does that make hours available? What are these two figures and what is their significance?


I can't see the report, and this one is going to be context dependent. Given the nature of the report and the way training budgets often work, my guess would be that they are reporting on the tracking of time reported by employees as time used for training (hours used), vs. time budgeted for training in the annual fiscal budget (hours available).

To make any sense of a metric, here, you have to know about the industry, the field, the definition of "training", the budgeting process, the reporting process - and how that is normalized if they are collecting metrics. This is going to be highly variable across businesses.

  • I only have the paper copy, I will see if I can identify some small snippets to scan and upload. I hesitate to upload too significant of portions, for legal reasons. – corsiKa Apr 2 '14 at 15:40
  • Yeah, I wouldn't recommend much here, but I'm not sure how helpful we can be with interpreting a single report. – bethlakshmi Apr 2 '14 at 15:49
  • I would hesitate to call this a "single report". That's like calling the "State of the Union" address a single speech. It's one of the most important reports of the year for corporate learning professionals. Unfortunately, I'm not a corporate learning professional: I'm a software developer creating reports for our corporate learning professionals. My business user is away on an extended holiday. Convenient. :) – corsiKa Apr 2 '14 at 16:13

Because the report is not freely available, it's difficult to be sure. My assumption is that "hours available" are the possible hours of training provided by the employer. These could be applicable courses, equivalent of reimbursable tuition, etc. The report's finding is that employees are only using 2% of their opportunities for training.


An available hour is an hour where the person should have worked. Paid time off(vacation/personal time), FMLA Leave, and disability Leave are not included in available hours, but sick time is. Hours used is the number of working hours spent in training. I had to produce a similar report for a company I was working for a few years ago and these were the standards then I doubt they have changed since 2009.

The signifigance is that if your technical staff is not getting enough training then your technical staff is probably falling behind the tech curve. A single year is not a big deal but if your company is closer to 100/1 for several years then there is a very real likelihood that your staff has in general fallen behind as far as implementing new technologies and efficiencies. After 10 years someone in your employ is probably going to have a problem meeting the expectations of a new employer. Which also means that your company is better off hiring in top talent rather than promoting a veteran for Senior and Lead roles.

Another side effect is that after 7-10 years your systems are probably starting to become seriously behind with considerable tech debt. It is harder to get top talent to come in to a place where most of their work is going to be in keeping the old obsolete systems running rather than working on modern systems and implementing new functionality for it.

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