Economic slumps shouldn’t spell training shortfalls

Unfortunately, in tough economic times, training budgets are often the first to fall.

A recent report by Training magazine illustrated that both training salaries and training budgets took a hit across 2009 and 2010. According to the magazine’s Salary Survey, training salaries fell by about $2,300 on average, and the results of its 2010 Training Industry Report showed that more than 32% of training budgets decreased, while 24% stayed the same. Of the companies that showed budget decreases, 42% reported decreases of between 6% to 15% and 23% of companies reported decreases of more than a whopping 23%.

Another survey by learning management consulting firm Expertus in 2009 confirmed this trend: training budgets plummeted as businesses tried to mitigate the anticipated effects of the economic downturn. According to the survey, which included 84 training professionals across 19 industries, nearly half (48 per cent) of respondents indicated they expected to see training budgets fall in 2009, up from 41 per cent in 2008.

However, slashing training budgets is among the worst things a business can do during a recession. Though it sounds counterintuitive, economic challenges should spur organizations to invest in enhanced training. After all, tough economic times mean tighter margins and fiercer competition. It is a survival-of-the-fittest environment. But guess what? The fittest are also the best-trained.

The trick is not to cut training budgets and neglect training programs. It's about developing a leaner, meaner, more efficient training machine.

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