2 mins

Despite rounds of layoffs and growing economic concerns, software engineer learning and development budgets have yet to be impacted.

Just 16% of learning and skills development budgets have been cut over the past six months, according to a survey of 500 software engineers across the globe, including 350 engineering managers, conducted by LeadDev in March.

In fact, 56% of respondents had the same budget available for learning and skills development as six months before, and 7% had more. Another 14% didn’t have a dedicated budget for skills development and 7% weren’t sure.

Those trends were pretty consistent across Europe, the United States, and the rest of the world. However, 21% of respondents outside of Europe and the United States had seen their learning budgets increase, compared to just 7% in Europe, and 3% in the United States.

Research results

Money aside, 28% of respondents said they will be spending more time on learning and development, and 58% as much time as before. That leaves just 14% of respondents spending less energy on learning and development than before.

“Even in uncertain economic conditions, maintaining learning and development programs should remain a top priority for companies,” said Josh Brenner, CEO of the tech hiring platform Hired, commenting on the results. “Companies that don’t prioritize this risk alienating their current employee base and are putting themselves at a significant disadvantage in attracting and retaining quality talent who actively seek these types of opportunities.”

Anxious times

When it comes to the recent raft of layoffs and hiring freezes, 38% of LeadDev’s survey respondents had been directly impacted already, and a further 29% hadn’t been impacted but were concerned nonetheless. In contrast, only 19% expressed no concern at all.

When asked which issues they are most concerned about, the topics of hiring and retaining talent, delivering projects with limited resources, dealing with uncertainty, and having difficult conversations came up often. 

“Market rates are ever increasing for engineers. We need some stabilization in order to hire people at a fair rate in line with current staff, so things do not crash and cause problems in the future,” said Ranjeet Ruprai, Senior Engineering Manager at The Economist.

Other areas of concern for engineering managers included more general budget constraints, defining clear roles and expectations, and developing leadership and management skills.

Filipe Silva, an Engineering Manager at Bosch, said that “providing clear paths, where people can understand what they need to do to achieve higher levels of impact,” would help navigate this difficult landscape.