Fewer Firms are Reimbursing Employees for Continuing Education Costs

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If you were hoping your employer was going to cover all or part of the costs for you to continue your education, there's nearly a 50 percent chance that may not happen.

A new survey released today by financial recruitment firm Robert Half Finance and Accounting found that the number of firms reimbursing the continuing education costs of their employees has dropped from 46 percent in 2006 to 26 percent today.

For financial markets professionals who were counting on help with their MBAs, CFAs, CPAs or CIFMs, this could add up to quite a chunk of change.

The drop in the number of companies that paid full freight or the entire costs was even more significant, falling from 29 percent in 2006 to just 5 percent today.

"As the job market strengthens, it becomes more important for companies to offer benefits that help employees advance their careers," said Max Mesmer, chairman and CEO of Robert Half International and author of Human Resources Kit For Dummies.

Beyond retention and recruiting, Mesmer noted that supporting ongoing learning can help businesses develop a more skilled workforce. "Employees aren't the only beneficiaries of continuing education," he said. "Companies benefit from developing a workforce that is equipped to meet evolving business needs."

The survey was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on interviews with more than 1,400 CFOs from a stratified random sample of U.S. companies with 20 or more employees.

2012 2006
            Full reimbursement 5% 29%
            Partial reimbursement 21% 17%
            No reimbursement provided 73% 50%
            Don't know 0% 4%
99%* 100%
            *Responses do not total 100 percent due to rounding.

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