4 Key Learning and Development Jobs Explained

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Learning and development jobs come in all sizes and forms. Increasingly, companies want to ramp up their learning and development efforts – and for good reason. Rapid technological developments and an aging workforce create a significant skills gap that needs to be closed. 

As a result, many organizations will have to change or update the skills and competencies of their workforce. Part of this will take place through the upskilling of people via, for instance, the company’s learning and development (L&D) programs. But creating an L&D program that meets your organization’s specific training needs entails more than just buying a learning management system (LMS). 

In this article, we’ll highlight 4 key learning and development jobs. These employees will champion learning and development in the company.   

Content
Learning and development job characteristics
L&D specialist
Learning and development manager
Director of learning and development
Learning and development consultant
Wrapping up
FAQ

Learning and development job characteristics

Regardless of the exact role, learning and development jobs all have certain characteristics in common. We can look at the definition of learning and development to distinguish several of these characteristics: 

Learning and development is the process of enhancing an employee’s skill, knowledge, and competencies, resulting in better performance at work. Learning is focused on the acquisition of knowledge, skills, and attitudes. Development  is about broadening and deepening knowledge in line with one’s development goals. 

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In terms of learning and development job characteristics, we identify the following: 

Analysis and strategy

Whether you’re an L&D specialist, manager or director, your work will be based on an analysis of training needs that will result in a strategy. This analysis includes the short and long-term goals of the organization and defining the training needs that will help the company realize its business goals. It also involves a skills gap analysis.

The results of this analysis will lead to the creation of an L&D strategy – and it’s this strategy that will serve as the guide (or should we say bible?) to your L&D role; learning materials will be created based on it, as will personal L&D plans for employees, changes in the company’s business goals may lead to changes in the L&D strategy, etc.

In short: all learning and development jobs evolve around the L&D strategy.

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A strong interest in learning and development

Yes, this may seem obvious but sometimes it’s the most obvious things we forget about. If you’re working in the L&D space, a strong interest (not to say passion) for learning and development is something that is required regardless of your specific function.

This interest involves several aspects: 

  • It means you’re keen on following the latest trends in learning and development, changes in theory and development in learning technologies
  • It means that you’re willing to embrace and are open to all types of training (think of peer coaching, peer mentoring, etc.)
  • It means that you’re always ready to question the ways in which your organization is ‘doing’ learning and development and hungry to keep learning yourself 

A passion to make the most out of people’s talents  

Learning and development jobs aim to help people develop themselves. As such, when you’re working in L&D, this is what makes you tick. You’re always thinking of new ways to improve people’s skills and competencies and seeing people – and the organization – grow as a result of your efforts is what drives you. 

Alright, since we’ve looked at some of the characteristics that all learning and development jobs have in common, we can now take a closer look at 4 of those L&D roles.

Learning and development manager
Learning & development jobs aim to optimize the skills and competencies of a company’s employees.

L&D specialist

The learning and development specialist, also referred to as a training and development specialist often has an operational role. They design, conduct, and organize training programs to improve employee performance and ensure organizational productivity.  

The exact shape of the role will vary but the emphasis usually lies on the design and implementation of training programs, including the delivery and facilitation of those programs. Being a learning and development specialist usually also involves the creation of content for various types of training. Think for instance of participant materials, videos, practical exercises, and interactive eLearning.

Key skills and knowledge for L&D specialists include communication skills, proficiency in eLearning, in-depth knowledge of various learning management systems and project management. 

Learning and development specialist salary (US & UK)

Salaries will vary depending on specific duties, level of seniority, company size, and location. In the US, the average learning and development specialist salary lies around $ 60,000, according to PayScale.

In the UK, compensation for L&D specialists tends to be lower. The average learning and development specialist salary there is slightly below 30,000 GBP, also according to PayScale.

Learning and development manager

The learning and development manager plays a critical role in the day-to-day learning and development activities of an organization. They coordinate all L&D activities, partner with business managers, other members of the L&D department, and HR. 

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Among (many) other things, L&D managers track budgets and negotiate contracts with third-party training providers. They report into the director of learning and development – or the head of HR – and act as the go-to person within the organization for anyone who has questions about the company’s L&D programs.

Key skills and knowledge include a strong ability to collaborate and communicate, budgeting skills and an understanding of corporate finance, the ability to analyze and solve problems and of course management skills. 

Learning and development manager salary (USA & UK)

A learning and development manager salary will depend on specific duties, level of seniority, company size, and location. In the US, an entry-level L&D manager can expect to earn around $62,000 while someone mid-career will earn around $73,000, according to GetSmarter. 

In the UK, and also according to GetSmarter, a budding L&D manager will have an average salary of 36,000 GBP and can expect to touch 40,000 GBP mid-career. 

Director of learning and development

The learning and development director has a strategic role and focuses on analyzing organizational needs for development, aligning L&D activities with organizational strategy, drafting the L&D strategy, and ensuring budget to execute this strategy. 

First and foremost, the director of learning and development has a leadership role in the L&D department. As such, they oversee all the activities of the department and identify the organization’s developmental needs. 

L&D directors also have an analytical role. This consists. on the one hand, of conducting research and making further recommendations for learning management systems and databases. 

On the other hand, this involves (among other things) keeping track of training records, developing dashboard reporting for all levels of the business and identifying and defining present and future training needs.  

Key skills and knowledge include communication, interpersonal, and analytical skills, leadership skills and experience developing learning and development programs.

Director of learning and development salary (USA & UK)

A director of learning and development salary will, just like the salaries for other L&D jobs, vary depending on company size and location. According to LinkedIn, the average salary for a learning and development director in the US is $115,000. 

In the UK, the average director learning of learning and development salary is just below 120,000 GBP, according to Glassdoor.

Learning and development: a comprehensive guide

Learning and development consultant

The L&D consultant does all of the above in a consulting capacity. Depending on the role and seniority of the consultant, these activities can be operational or strategic. 

A learning and development consultant can, for example, assist with a company’s learning and development programs and the implementation of their learning initiatives. But they can also play an instrumental role in the analysis of an organization’s training needs and the creation of its L&D strategy. 

Key skills and knowledge include strong communication skills, know-how on how to manage and maximize financial resources, being very knowledgeable in the education and training fields and being able to clearly instruct and coordinate people. 

Learning and development consultant salary (US & UK)

L&D consultants in the US can expect to earn an average of $79,000 a year according to but again, this will depend on their specific duties, the size of the company they work for and the location. 

In the UK, the average salary for a learning and development consultant lies around 42,000 GBP, also according to Indeed.

Wrapping up 

There isn’t one right way to have learning and development jobs within your organization. Each company can determine the best way to approach L&D, depending on their specific situation. This list aims to inspire you and to give you an idea of the roles you might want to consider to help your company with its learning and development efforts. 

FAQ

What are the learning and development jobs?

Learning and development jobs aim to optimize the skills and competencies of a company’s employees to make the most out of people’s talents on the one hand and to improve the performance of the business on the other.

What are examples of learning and development jobs?

Examples of learning and development jobs are the L&D specialist, the L&D manager, the director of learning and development, and the L&D consultant.

What does a learning and development manager do?

The learning and development manager plays a critical role in the day-to-day learning and development activities of an organization. They coordinate all L&D activities, partner with business managers, other members of the L&D department, and HR. 

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