A snapshot of the creator economy

In 2021, more than 50 million people considered themselves digital content creators, earning revenue from creation in a market that’s grown to more than $104 billion. The pandemic accelerated the impact and value of the creator economy, while speeding up the pace of digital transformation in general. 

Most of us associate the creator economy with social media platforms, driving the engine that’s making companies like YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, and Pinterest, some of the fastest-growing companies out there. 

When companies partner with content creators, part of the value they find is in the audiences these creators have already built – this is particularly true when it comes to influencer marketing. Another value organizations can derive from partnering with content creators is the speed at which those creators generate constantly changing content.

What’s driving the growth of the corporate training market?

If the creator economy is growing like a proverbial house on fire, so is the corporate training market. Corporate training and development is a key area for many businesses, and one that continues to grow in importance with the constant evolution of digital technologies and new models of working, such as hybrid, remote, and globally dispersed teams. As the workplace changes and the skills workers need to be successful evolve, corporate training has become a strategic necessity for companies that want to remain agile and thrive.

This reality is reflected in the extraordinary growth of the corporate training market. A newly released study from the Josh Bersin Company, The Creator Market for Corporate Learning, estimates the total global spend to be a staggering $360 billion. This works out to companies spending an average of $1,500 per employee, and considerably more than that spent on more senior workers.

The pandemic has only accelerated this trend, according to the report, with companies increasing their investment in corporate training initiatives by more than 10% from 2020 to 2022, “reflecting the need to realign people toward new priorities, new technologies, and new ways of working.”

Grasping the breadth of corporate learning initiatives 

We’ve all taken the obligatory security and HR compliance courses, but the need for corporate learning goes far beyond that. In reality, it covers a broad range of needs and subject areas. The following graphic, drawn from the Bersin report research, presents the major subject categories covered, with each area including many subcategories by industry. Managerial training outstrips all other categories, followed by tuition reimbursement and compliance training.

Josh Bersin graphic of total L&D spend for content.

How can training providers keep up?

Many organizations leverage content from their learning solutions to be able to meet these broad and diverse training needs. But as workplace models and technologies change, as new approaches to leadership evolve, training content must also evolve. Corporate training must be continually updated to keep pace. 

For many training providers, content obsolescence is a major issue.  According to the Bersin report,

“While a considerable amount of management and supervisory topics may last for years, most process, procedure, and professional training must be updated constantly.” Yet most training platforms support a content creation model that can’t keep up:

“Before creator tools were even on our radar, most corporate training vendors were what we called ‘publishers,’ investing in content development, instructional design, and video production to build their courses, which take about three to six months to develop (including testing the courses for fidelity and learning experience). The vendors then publish and sell these courses to consumers for several years, hoping to get as much value out of their investment as possible.”

But this content doesn’t have that long of a shelf-life. So how can corporate training platforms that sell their content on a subscription basis keep up?

The creator platform

Enter the creator economy. If a corporate training provider were able to harness the creator economy, it would solve the issue of how to generate and deliver the latest, freshest, most relevant content across all the areas required by today’s companies. In the words of the Bersin report:

“If a platform company built a “creator platform” for corporate training, these experts could publish their content on virtually any topic and could also update the content at the speed of change to better meet the needs of their learners. And this is precisely what is happening.”

The report goes on to call out the value of the Udemy model as one that is leading the corporate training marketplace:

“Udemy, a leader in the creator market, already has 183,000 courses online, authored by more than 64,000 instructors. Each of these courses is authored by a real-world expert, and these instructors (as creators) get a significant percentage of course revenue (courses are priced by instructors), so they are incented to make sure their work is high quality and relevant to learners. The instructors use a structured authoring platform from Udemy, but they are free to create any video, media asset, assessment, or interaction they want. And, for advanced courses, Udemy Business offers online labs and other workspaces to give students hands-on experience.

“Each course is rated with a five-star rating system (as well as reviewed), giving students (and instructors) fine-grained data to help the marketplace continuously improve. Students can send feedback or questions directly to instructors, and they, as creators, then have quantitative and qualitative data on learner behavior to constantly refine their content. Ultimately, the marketplace dynamics encourage continuous improvement, feedback, and evolution.”

The report goes on to outline how the Udemy market model not only provides high-quality course content that is fresh and up-to-date, but also how it provides a curated set of its most successful content to businesses on a subscription basis. 

Download the full Bersin market report, The Creator Market for Corporate Learning: A Massive, Still Untapped Market, to learn more about how the creator economy is disrupting the corporate training market, and how Udemy Business offers value to the market based on that model.