Four key views have emerged from this year’s Corporate Pulse Survey from Financial Times |IE Business School Corporate Learning Alliance.


The survey, of almost 1,000 executives from Europe, the Middle East, Japan and China, reveals – among other things – that:

  • Senior professionals understand and recognise the long-term benefits of learning and leadership development, even if it isn’t a number-one priority for their organisation.
  • To date, learning and leadership development programmes haven’t lived up to senior professionals’ expectations, although these professionals are optimistic that future programmes will be worth the investment.
  • Although organisations 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.


This second annual Corporate Learning Pulse Survey commissioned by FT | IE Corporate Learning Alliance shows that senior professionals’ top three 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.


“Furthermore, 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.”


There are regional differences when it comes to views on the impact of learning and leadership development programmes. Satisfaction with these programmes 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 organisation are optimistic about future investments in executive education / leadership development.


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


Where senior professionals have tried to measure the outcomes of past corporate learning programmes, they have tried to measure these programmes’ impact on:

  • Employee satisfaction (72%)
  • Customer satisfaction (72%)
  • Employee engagement (72%)
  • Revenue, profit and margins (68%)


In terms of the measurements showing the impact of these programmes on their organisations, 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 programmes (37%),” says VanDyck 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.


“As such, it contains great deal of data to inform would-be suppliers of corporate learning and development programmes. In addition, hopefully, the resulting report will spark conversations about how an organisation can reach its strategic goals through learning,” he says.


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


This year’s Corporate Learning Pulse Survey is the second in a series of annual surveys of ‘C-suite’ executives, HR and L&D professionals in a range of countries around the world. The 2016 survey encompassed some 600 business leaders across Europe. The 2017 survey, of some 939 executives, gathered opinions from Europe, the Middle East, Japan and China.