US Companies Shell Out More for Training

October 26, 2001 ( - US organizations will spend nearly $57 billion on training this year, up 5% from the $54 billion spent last year, according to Training magazine's 20th Annual Industry Report.

The rise in spending stems from the inflated budgets for training staff salaries. They rose 66% or $37.5 billion, versus 64% in 2000.

Outside expenses such as customized training materials, off-the-shelf materials, seminars, and conferences, remained steady at more than $19 billion.

Although expenses for seminars and conferences were unchanged at $7 billion, the category has increased to 59% of all training costs over the past three years.

Also noteworthy were the double-digit swings that took place among various-sized organizations from last year to this year.

Of those responding to the survey, mid-sized companies (1,000-9,999 employees) and large-sized companies (50,000 or more employees) posted double-digit drops in overall training budgets and salaries, while smaller companies posted double-digit gains.

Other highlights:

  • Despite the repeated predictions that online delivery methods will one day take a bite out of the classroom, 77% of all training is still conducted by an instructor in a classroom, a 4 % increase from last year.
  • Training both via computer and instructor-led from a remote location dropped by 2% and 1%, respectively.
  • 37% of all US employer-sponsored training is devoted to teaching computer skills.
  • Computer skills remain the most popular topic to teach via computer-delivered means, comprising 53% of such courses. And CD-ROM once again remains the medium of choice for computer-delivered training.
  • Traditional classroom training remains as popular a method for teaching computer skills as it is for teaching other subjects. Some 74% – up from 72% last year – of all IT training is delivered in classrooms by live instructors.

The study describes the training activities of US organizations with 100 or more employees.