In the future you may have to pay for your own PM training

Here’s the situation. Corporations’ balance sheets are flush with cash. Yet, training dollars have all but dried up (which is why many training firms are suffering), tuition reimbursement is threatened in many organizations, and we seem to be entering an age where if you want training you may have to pay for some, or all of it, yourself.

Why do I say this? Let me give you two examples of what may be the next big trend in professional development.

First, there’s IBM, no small company. Although it has lost money in each quarter over the past two years, it still makes billions in both revenue and profit. However, under Virginia Rometty, its CEO, Big Blue started a program in its Global Technology Services strategic outsourcing group that should get our attention. Recently, a select group of employees were told that an assessment revealed “that some managers and employees have not kept pace with acquiring the skills and expertise needed to address changing client needs, technology and market requirements.”

Consequently IBM is forcing these people to take 23 days of training, one day each week, until they have successfully completed the prescribed professional development. And, get this, during that six month period their pay will be slashed 10%. That’s tantamount to having them pay for their own training isn’t it? You can read the full story here.

Is this what corporate America has come to?

Is this what corporate America has come to?

Second, I recently read an article by Ed Tittel on entitled “6 Ways to Maximize Your IT Training Budget”, where Mr. Tittel suggests one of those ways is….well, read it yourself:

Partner with Employees: Split Training Costs

If an organization can get its employees to buy into training and career development, they can literally double their dollars when costs get split 50-50. This is already an implicit aspect in many tuition support programs, where employers offer a partial stipend or payment to help cover the costs of academic coursework. Why not make it a part of how IT training dollars get spent, too? 

Some IT departments offer their employees a menu of courses or certifications from which employees can choose, coupled with (partial) reimbursement plans to help defray their costs. By offering more support for those credentials it needs the most, and less for those credentials outside the “must-have” list, organizations can steer employees in the directions they want them to go.

Of course, there are many companies that make employees pay some of their tuition reimbursement costs, and others who also ask them to shoulder some of the costs for credentials, but I’ve never seen a time, in the more than 22 years I spent in the corporate training industry, where employees had to open their wallets to pay for their own “on the job training.” Of course, my work in corporate training was with the Global Fortune 500 so perhaps this was the case in smaller companies; I’m not sure but I doubt it.

Nonetheless, when a corporate behemoth such as IBM starts forcing people to take training as punishment, and making them pay for it, which is even more punitive, other companies, both large and small, may just jump on that bandwagon too. If they do, PM training providers, already suffering from the financial crisis and commoditization of “PMBOK-type” training, will have to either keep reducing their costs (which they’ve been doing..PM training is as cheap as it has been in years), or just shutter their doors and move on to something else, like selling encyclopedias door-to-door!

Let me know your experience. Is your company on the path to making you pay for training?


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2 thoughts on “In the future you may have to pay for your own PM training

  1. Mexican economy is complex, and companies usually don’t consider pay for training. So in Mexico is common issue.

    You have to pay for your oun training or get “out of the market”.

  2. It’s a good collection of thoughts on the matter, and the bottom line with training ties in with the right allocation of available budget. When companies do this effectively and go for the correct type of training, they retain the capable talent as opposed to retaining the talent that will be capable for the moment. It does the individual a disservice if you don’t understand what kind of training your people need. Too often, it’s left to the hot button certification that’s all the rage – fine, but is it a solution for what you intend to do as a business?