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  Industry Committment to Training
Industry Commitment to Training
The likelihood of your being offered employer-paid training or other forms of on-the-job learning opportunities depends in part on the industry in which you work. Your best bets are in services, IT, finance, insurance, and real estate.

In a study by the American Society for Training and Development, more than 750 U.S organizations provided data about their expenditures on training programs as a percentage of payroll and on a per-employee basis. Here's how they compare by industry on several key factors.

Business sector Commitment to learning
Services (hotels; professional, business, and personal services; educational, legal, social, and consumer services) High percentage spent on training and a significant increase in the use of new learning technologies, including computer-based training, the Internet, and teleconferencing.
IT (computers, electronics, software design, telecommunications services, IT services, and consulting firms) Highest training expenditure as a percentage of payroll and one of the highest expenditures per employee. Not surprisingly, IT companies lead in their use of new learning technologies.
Finance, insurance, and real estate (banks, insurance companies, brokers, and real estate companies) These companies invest more in training than many other segments and report overall performance improvements. Focus is mainly on computer literacy and applications.
Healthcare (hospitals, clinics, doctors' offices, and home care companies) The highest percentage of employees receiving training, but the lowest training expenditure per employee and as a percentage of payroll. High levels of new employee orientation and computer literacy training, with only light use of learning technologies to date.
Durable manufacturing (wood products, stone and glass, fabricated metal, machines and electrical equipment, and transportation equipment) Stable training expenditures over time, with an increased use of computer-based training, teleconferencing, and interactive TV. Training concentrates on quality, competition, and business practices, along with basic skills.
Nondurable manufacturing (food and beverages, apparel, textiles, plastics, chemicals, paper and pulp, petroleum, rubber, and leather) Total expenditures on the low end of the spectrum. Limited use of learning technologies, with a focus on quality, competition, and business practices training, along with job-specific technical skills.
Transportation and public utilities (power, water, gas utilities, trucking and warehousing, airlines and railroads, and parcel services) The leading expenditure on training per employee, with strong multimedia usage. Companies favor intranets, LANs, and simulators, primarily teaching basic skills, executive development, and job-specific technical skills.
Government (federal, state, and local government organizations and agencies) Traditionally, agencies spend a high amount on training, but rank near the bottom as a percentage of payroll. Emphasis on computer literacy and applications, job-specific technical skills, and basic skills vs. professional skills training. Prefers classroom-based training, but predicts increases in the usage of learning technologies.
Trade (retail and food stores, home furnishings and equipment stores, food and beverage facilities, apparel, building materials, hardware, garden supply, and wholesale trade or distributors) High percentage of employees receiving training, combined with lowest training expenditures overall, results in low percentages per employee. Training focuses on customer service; sales; and dealer, management, and job-specific technical skills training while underemphasizing computer literacy and applications and professional skills training. Significant increase seen in computer-based training, multimedia, and groupware.
Agriculture/mining/construction (agriculture producers, mining, oil exploration, construction, fisheries, and forestry) One of the highest percentages of employees receiving training, but invests the least in terms of overall training expenditures. Lags in use of learning technologies and in computer literacy and applications training and job-specific technical skills training.

Source: ASTD 1998 Benchmarking Service

- Linda Jenkins, Salary.com contributor

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