Study: Employers Provide Little Career Guidance

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New research released by CompTIA shows that most employers aren’t supporting their IT workers’ efforts in developing their professional skills. About 85 percent of participants in a survey conducted by the organization said they alone determine the best IT training and education for their careers, while only 8 percent make these decisions based on an employer’s requirements or suggestions.


Also, only a little more than 20 percent of the 462 respondents said their employers provide paid time away from their jobs for training and education, and more than 88 percent of IT workers surveyed said they pay in full or in part for their career training and education. That wasn’t the only surprising finding of the study, said Gretchen Koch, director of the skills development program at CompTIA. “I think there were a number of surprising things,” she said. “About 60 percent of these folks are looking for new jobs. That number is very, very high to me.” Within that 60 percent, about four-fifths of them were looking for a different job with a new organization.


Perhaps there is a connection between the lack of employer support for certification and training and the high numbers of workers seeking a new vocation. The respondents were hardly job hoppers; those surveyed averaged almost a decade of tenure in their current position. Additionally, they spent an average of $2,200 out of their own pocket on training and education in the past year and expected to increase that amount by about $100 in the next year. Thus, most of their employers didn’t have any reason to believe that their staff would jump ship after they invested in their career development efforts.


However, the willingness and funds available to finance employee’s certification and education ventures is not what it once was. Following the burst of the tech bubble and the slow recovery, employers are generally (and understandably) more wary of footing the bill for these undertakings. “I think it has something to do with the industry at large over the past few years,” Koch said.


Still, anecdotal evidence from respondents to the CompTIA survey suggests that they would like more support in their certification and training attempts, whether it’s in the form of compensation or time off. Employers ignore this sentiment at their own peril. Their employees will continue to get these credentials and skills, whether their organizations support them or not. If not, though, then they shouldn’t be surprised when the individuals working for them take their new-and-improved selves to another company, perhaps even a competitor.


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