In tough times, employee training is often among the first areas to face the budgetary chopping block. Indeed, roughly one in four senior executives interviewed said their companies’ professional development programs have been reduced from a year ago.

But while some companies are making cuts, others are making enhancements: 28 per cent of respondents indicated that their firms have actually bolstered their training initiatives during this time.

The survey was developed by staffing firm Accountemps and conducted by an independent research firm. It is based on telephone interviews with 150 senior executives from the 1,000 largest companies in the U.S.

“While employers may be tempted to eliminate or scale back training in challenging times, they should think twice before making these cuts,” said Max Messmer, chairman of Accountemps and author of Human Resources Kit For Dummies, 2nd Edition (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.). “Skimping on employee education can dull your firm’s competitive edge and undermine your recruitment and retention efforts.”

Messmer added, “Providing targeted training enables staff, particularly those who have taken on new or expanded roles, to become more versatile and increase their contributions to the firm.

In addition, employees who feel their company is invested in their careers will be more motivated to perform at a high level and less likely to resign when an improving economy spurs new job opportunities.”