Firms Spend Billions to Train

BECAUSE of widespread corporate downsizing, employers are training more workers than ever before to assume additional duties, according to Training magazine's annual industry survey.

"With fewer workers to do the work almost certainly those fewer workers are going to need to learn to do additional tasks or to work more effectively or both," the Minneapolis-based magazine says in its October issue.

Companies will spend $52.2 billion this year to provide some form of structured training to 49.6 million employees, the survey found. The magazine polled 1,803 United States companies with 100 employees or more.

The figures reflect a 5 percent increase over last year in the number of employees trained and a 3 percent increase in training dollars spent. More than one-third of executives polled said they plan to expand their employee training budgets next year, while only 10 percent said they plan cuts. The bulk of the training dollars - 54 percent - will be spent on managers and professionals.

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