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Mailbag: Who pays for your training?

Apr 05, 20063 mins
Data CenterIT Skills

* The training haves and have-nots

In the last newsletter, we discussed continuous education and asked who funds your training. The discussion was sparked by a CompTIA survey that found that 88% of the 462 IT pros polled said they paid in full or in part for their training. I’ve received a few responses to that newsletter – including a question to training companies – but first an interesting survey from Robert Half Technology.

The IT staffing company last week published findings of a recent survey of 1,400 CIOs about their IT retention strategies. The top strategy, as cited by 63% of the CIOs polled, was “providing training or professional development.” This is interesting given the high number of IT pros in CompTIA’s survey who said they provided their own education. Obviously not many of the CompTIA interviewees work for the companies that employ the CIOs interviewed for the Robert Half survey.

(The other retention strategies cited by the respondents were offering flexible schedules – 47%, increasing base compensation – 41%, offering bonuses – 31%, and offering equity incentives – 9%. Twenty-three percent said no steps were taken to retain key IT talent.)

Onto the responses I received to last week’s newsletter. I heard from a network administrator at a community non-profit hospital, whose story echoes the findings of the CompTIA survey. He says that his employer has a wide-range of employer-paid continuing education provided to medical personnel, who need continuing education to keep their licenses valid, but there is little to no employer-paid IT technical training provided.

He says: “I wish my employer would subsidize continuing IT education the same way it sponsors degree-granting programs through tuition reimbursement. It is a huge investment of my spare time and a sacrifice of my personal life to work towards a certification (or another degree). The least my employer could do is recognize this with financial aid as well as recognition and status when completed.”

He suggests that the IT industry should introduce a license policy so that IT professionals need to take continuing education to maintain their licenses – similar to the teaching and medical professions. Perhaps employers would be moved to fund such education to ensure their staff are up-to-date with their licenses.

Another reader says training vendors could help IT professionals who have to pay for their own training by cutting the prices of their courses. He says: “I believe that the training centers [whose rates are] greater than $1,500 for a week-long course will not/should not continue if it becomes apparent that companies are withdrawing from funding continuing professional education for their employees. Look at college courses. A course can range from $1,300 to $1,500 or more. But you get a full rounded curriculum over a longer period of time. Compare that to these cram sessions provided by vendor specific training, I feel I would be losing out if I must fund 100% of the costs. Either way, my point is that vendor training is overpriced and should be forced to reduce their costs. If they want to keep their current prices from declining, then urge corporations to want to invest in their employees continuing professional education.”

I want to hear from training companies. What are your thoughts on this reader’s comments? Do many of your students’ employers pay for training? Do you provide financial assistance, discounts? Please let me know.

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