CEOs Reveal Top Priorities for 2017 -Learning & Development Rates 6th With Only 37% Measuring Impact

CEOs Reveal Top Priorities for 2017 -Learning & Development Rates 6th With Only 37% Measuring Impact

The Second Annual Corporate Pulse Survey conducted by Financial Times reveals CEO’s top priorities for 2017. The survey of almost 1,000 executives from Europe, the Middle East, Japan and China, shows their top priorities for 2017 are in-market growth (33%), strategy development and execution (31%), financial management (26%) and cyber security (26%). Executive education and leadership development (24%) are sixth on the priority list, with 22% also seeing this area as a challenge they must address in the next three years.

 “That said, the top three things that senior professionals say need immediate attention include recruitment, training, and executive education and leadership development (38% each),” says VanDyck Silveira, FT | IE Corporate Learning Alliance CEO.

 Key areas for concern in learning and development were also revealed:

  • Senior professionals understand and recognize the long-term benefits of learning and leadership development, admitting it isn’t a number-one priority for their organization.
  • To date, learning and leadership development programs haven’t lived up to senior professionals’ expectations, although these professionals are optimistic that future programs will be worth the investment.
  • Although organizations have attempted to measure the impact of executive education and leadership development, they don’t always succeed – despite this being a priority when choosing the right programming.
  • Compared with last year’s survey results, learning priorities have remained roughly consistent among senior professionals.
  • There are regional differences when it comes to views on the impact of learning and leadership development programs. Satisfaction with these programs is highest in China (72%), Spain (64%) and Germany (57%) – with the lowest satisfaction ratings coming from Japan (16%) and the Nordic countries (37%).  Moreover, respondents – especially those in China, Spain and Germany – believe the senior leaders in their organization are optimistic about future investments in executive education / leadership development.

     “Over 80% of senior professionals believe that executive education / leadership development has improved their skills, is vital to achieving business goals, and is more important than ever. In addition, 58% of them believe that executive education and leadership development are the key to holding on to their best employees,” says Silveira.

    Less than half of respondents report their senior leadership teams believe past investments in executive education have added value to their organization. This varies by market, with perceived value being strongest in China (69%), Spain (60%) and Germany (60%).

    Where senior professionals measured the outcomes of past corporate learning programs, they measured impact based on:

  • Employee satisfaction (72%)
  • Customer satisfaction (72%)
  • Employee engagement (72%)
  • Revenue, profit and margins (68%)
  •  In terms of impact, only 37% report seeing a tangible impact on employee engagement, 34% see benefits in terms of customer satisfaction; while revenue, profit, and margins, and employee satisfaction both return figures of 32%.

    “It would appear senior professionals agree there’s room for improvement when it comes to executive education and leadership development – including better alignment with business goals (41%), more engagement from employees (40%) and better long-term planning of programs (37%),” adds Silveria.

    “This research further highlights the place of corporate executive education and leadership development, along with today’s key issues in this area across a large proportion of the globe,” concludes Silveria.

    The 2017 Corporate Learning Pulse global survey report is available to download from:  

    A video summary of the 2017 report findings can be viewed at

    About the author:

    David Wells is Head of Communication at FT | IE Corporate Learning Alliance. Contact him at: +44 (0)7921 582419;

     About Financial Times | IE Business School Corporate Learning Alliance

    Financial Times |IE Business School Corporate Learning Alliance, formed in December 2014, connects academic excellence with real-world insights from award-winning Financial Times journalists and global business practitioners. FT | IE Corporate Learning Alliance members are top business schools and learning organizations, globally as well as in their region and country. The Financial Times has been a trusted guide to business for more than 125 years, recognized internationally for its authority, integrity and accuracy. IE Business School is recognized as a world leader and offers one of the most prestigious international MBA programs.

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