Companies Cut Spending on IT Training

Slowdown in IT service and software spending having adverse effect on the rate of IT training

IT research company IDC has confirmed what many technology professionals already know: The boss isnt writing checks for training as generously as a year ago.

In a recently published report entitled Worldwide and U.S. Corporate IT Education and Training Services Market Forecast and Analysis, 2001-2006, IDC [] found that in virtually every region in which IDC covers IT training, analysts have revised 2001 market figures downward and lowered expectations for growth in 2002. Overall, IDC said it lowered its estimate for total external on IT training and education products by companies in North America from $12.9 billion to $11.8 billion. IDC also lower its estimate for 2002 spending from $14.8 billion to $12.9 billion.

This contrasts sharply with the technology bubble years. According to IDC, companies spent 18 percent more for IT training in 1999 than the year before. The IT training market was still growing in 2001, but more slowly, particularly in the United States. IDC predicts that the worldwide market for IT training will soon begin to fare better, and anticipates a compound annual growth rate of 11.2 percent through 2006 to reach a total of $39 billion.

IDC credits the slowdown in IT service and software spending for having adverse effects on the rate of IT training, but analysts for the firm, in Framingham, Mass., expect that better times are ahead. "The recent economic slowdown has caused a deceleration in the outsourced corporate training market rather than a contraction, and we remain cautiously optimistic that double-digit growth in the market will soon return," said IDC Senior Analyst Michael Brennan, in a release.

IT professionals would be advised to pitch e-learning options when requesting that their employers foot the bill for training. IDC believes that companies will continue to adopt e-learning at a comparatively healthy rate and predicts the e-learning market will grow by almost 44 percent in the coming year. IDC research shows that learning buyers feel that e-learning is particularly well-suited to technical subject matter such as application training, programming and system infrastructure training.