Most employees would give up their free time for work-related training, and more than half would folk out for it themselves, according to new research by the learning and development provider, Cegos.

The results, from its European survey of over 2,000 employees in the UK, France, Spain and Germany, suggests a increasing acceptance among workers to manage and update their own skills at a time when job opportunities remain scarce.

Francis Marshall, Cegos UK’s Managing Director, said: “In the current economic climate, employees are highly motivated to develop their skills and take control of their learning. With most willing to make personal sacrifices to undertake training, this points to a blurring of the boundary between work and home life.”

The survey found 53% of UK workers undertake online learning alone, but 90% of employees say they prefer on-the-job training instead, followed by classroom training (89%) and mentoring (86%).

A particularly striking finding from the survey was that 25% of interviewees don’t receive any formal training. This represents yet another sad outcome of the battle in many boardrooms – balancing the moral duty to develop staff’s skills (and, more cynically, their future career prospects) with the tough realism needed to keep the organisation in the black.

Respondents said they were most motivated to develop their skills by the potential for increases in salaries (65%), followed by a desire to fulfil their personal and professional potential. Half said they were motivated to undertake training to put them in a better position should they be made redundant.