Planning IT training
Companies around the globe are cutting costs to stay afloat and ensure their survival in the challenging times post GFC. These cuts are usually seen in the operational departments however studies regarding employee training have revealed that some companies are spending less on training per employee than what the course costs. With the technology changes and progression in the IT industry, encouraging IT staff to keep their skills current is considered a win/ win situation, however as tough times call for tough measures, training and professional development seem to take the first hit.
Most companies view training as a cost, rather than a profit centre and between 2009 and 2010 median IT training budgets dropped from around one per cent of total IT budget to 0.5 per cent, according to Gartner CIO analyst John Roberts. It is estimated that companies are spending approximately around $1100 per staff for training, a figure which is lesser than the cost of most courses.
On the other hand, many organisations seem to be struggling to find people with niche technical skills such as Oracle, SAP, service-oriented architecture, virtualisation, Microsoft.NET and SharePoint. Intelligent Business Research Services analyst Alan Hansell states that companies need to ensure that they get the value for money training their employees, and that it does not end up being training and upskilling staff so that they can find better jobs elsewhere. Microsoft certification, for example, can make an employee significantly more marketable. “Management needs to tread a fine line – between keeping staff’s skills current but also keeping them on the books,” Hansell said.
Companies, in order to reduce their training costs are cutting down discretionary training costs such as expensive seminars and workshops, which focus more on personal development and networking rather than the core skills of the job. Non-discretionary training, such as getting staff up to speed with new enterprise software or the latest mobile platform, for example – tends to be delivered regardless.
Popularity of online learning is increasing with staff encouraged to dedicate time to do online study during work hours, and even though this might result in productivity loss, it is seen as a better option. Some managers sweeten the deal by incorporating incentives into the program if the employee successfully complete the training. For those in management, professional development is increasingly occurring externally out of hours, too, via university postgraduate courses; the fees for which may be reimbursed by employers as subjects are passed. “As people rise up the ranks they become more autonomous about what training they do,” Hansell said. “It becomes about promote-ability and keeping yourself current.”
Soft training, explained as a conference or workshop rather than a specific course designed to teach skills, is still seen as a favourable option by many senior managers. At pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline’s Australian office, IT workers typically spend around a week a year doing out-of-office training, in addition to internal, HR-run courses and workshops.
Glaxo IT demand and shared services manager Robbie Attard said his team of 25 were expected to be proactive about finding courses and seminars which met their professional development needs.
All this tells us that YES organisations are cutting down their trainings costs, however that does not mean they don’t want to you to upskill yourself. Incentives are still offered for staff upskilling themselves. They can be anything from getting time off work to do study, or a promotion or pay rise on successful completion of training. It comes down to how high you want to aim for yourself. So are you thinking about training now? IT Futures is the answer. Visit www.itfutures.edu.au for more information.