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What are the L&D challenges, priorities and opportunities for the construction and engineering, education, finance and other industries this year?

Earlier this year, we surveyed 250 business, HR and L&D leaders to understand the key priorities and challenges facing their organisation, as well as the overarching trends in learning and development. You can learn more about our findings in our previous blog ‘The challenges, priorities and opportunities for learning and development in 2023’.

As a part of the research, we have also discovered some interesting trends across different industries which we will explore in this blog. Answering questions around what skills they are hoping to grow, their priorities, what’s driving demand for L&D, and more!


  • The top priority in the agriculture industry was increasing efficiency, improving productivity, and reducing costs, as this was shown to be driving demand for L&D in 50% of organisations
  • They are also hoping to develop ESG processes and 100% of the agricultural businesses surveyed are planning to increase budgets for skills growth in sustainable development


  • Accelerating digital transformation is a top priority for organisations in the automotive sector with 38% of businesses anticipating increased budget to support this
  • Multiple organisations stated that they are seeing a lack of employees due to skills gaps, which they plan to fill this year, as skills shortages are driving demand for L&D in 30% of automotive companies

Construction and Engineering

  • The construction and engineering sectors are facing challenges around the impacts of the cost-of-living crisis with 82% of organisations feeling pressure from employees to support them with rising costs. To help tackle this, 41% of organisations have improved their employee benefits and 35% have provided additional mentoring support for staff
  • A large proportion of organisations are focused on developing management skills this year, with project and programme management in demand for 29% of marketing and sales departments, plus management and leadership (29%) and Agile (29%) in demand for R&D departments

Defence and Security

  • Retaining talent is a key priority for 50% of defence and security organisations, with retention and attraction also quoted to be driving demand in 33%
  • Currently accredited certification is in-demand for 50% of organisations, but this is expected to reduce to 0% in just two years with a shift towards filling skills gaps instead

Digital, Advertising and Media

  • 45% of organisations in this sector are prioritising providing a better experience for employees through organisational change, skill development and L&D programmes, with improving engagement also anticipated to increase budgets for 36%
  • Companies are facing increasing competition from digital natives which is causing 45% of them to prioritise accelerating digital transformation by optimising and adopting new technology


  • 35% of organisations in the education sector are seeing a lack of employees due to the adoption of new ways of working, and the same reasoning is driving demand in 45%
  • In terms of skills development, budgets are set to increase for digital marketing (80%) and management and leadership (70%)

Energy, Minerals and Utilities

  • Skills shortages are driving demand in 33% of organisations, as a result 50% anticipate budgets increasing to address this
  • 83% of companies in this sector are planning to increase budgets for skills development in artificial intelligence, as this was quoted to be a top in-demand area for the IT (33%), Operations (66%) and R&D (33%) departments


  • Retention and attraction is driving demand in 48% of organisations in the finance sector, as a result, providing a better experience for employees through organisational change management, skill development and L&D programmes is a priority for 56%
  • Companies are also struggling with challenges surrounding the cost-of-living crisis (80%) and increasing pressure from employees to support them with this (92%)

Whatever your industry or individual learning needs, ILX Group has the training solution for all of your teams. Visit our website to find out more about our available courses and start your L&D journey, or request a quote today.

You can also read our full research report here.