Financial Executives Value Professional Development Programs

MENLO PARK, CA -- When it comes to education, most executives believe the process shouldn’t end at graduation. In a recent survey, 94 percent of chief financial officers (CFOs) polled said it was valuable for businesses to invest in ongoing professional development for their employees. However, more than half (57 percent) of respondents indicated their company does not currently offer a formal training program.

The survey was developed by Robert Half, the world’s first and largest staffing service specializing in the accounting, finance and information technology fields. It was conducted by an independent research firm and includes responses from 1,400 CFOs from a stratified random sample of U.S. companies with more than 20 employees.

CFOs were asked, “How valuable is it for companies to invest in ongoing professional development for their employees?” Their responses:



Very valuable 59%
Somewhat valuable 35%
Not at all valuable 4%
Don’t know/no answer 2%

“Employees who continually sharpen their knowledge and skills bring fresh perspectives, innovative business solutions and stronger leadership to their jobs, which can be a competitive advantage for their employers,” said Max Messmer, chairman and CEO of Robert Half. While the current economy has many companies tightening their belts, Messmer notes that training is one area in which firms should plan to invest resources.

He points out that professional development programs are an effective way to improve employee motivation as well. “People who are challenged and engaged in their work are more likely to perform well and have higher levels of job satisfaction.”

In the survey, CFOs said they consider professional development seminars (34 percent) the most effective form of continuing professional education, followed closely by computer-based training (30 percent), in-house classroom-style training (26 percent), tuition reimbursement (25 percent) and mentoring programs (19 percent). (Note: Respondents were allowed more than one answer.)

Robert Half has more than 300 locations throughout North America, Europe and Australia, and offers online job search services at www.roberthalf.com. The company offers free continuing professional education (CPE) courses to its clients and candidates.

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