A Look Behind The Training Magazine Top 125

Training magazine recently released its annual list of the top 125 companies that embrace employee training, and by glancing over some statistics about those organizations, a few trends start to emerge.

For one thing, most of the top 125 companies are really big. Verizon was ranked No. 1 on the list, with Farmers Insurance No. 2 and McDonalds at No. 5 (to be fair, a few smaller groups snuck in there as well). But on average, yearly revenue for the top 125 companies on the list was $5.9 billion in the U.S. and $11.3 billion worldwide.

More interesting, though, was an apparent discrepancy in the number of trainers these companies employed, on average, compared to industry standards. Back in January, Bersin and Associates released its annual Corporate Learning Facebook, a survey of the training industry landscape.

The Bersin study reported that corporations were, on average, employing fewer and fewer trainers per pupil than in the past. From 2006 to 2011, the number of learning and development professionals at companies had fallen from 6.7 per thousand students to 5.2 per thousand — mostly as a result of more training moving online, and having a greater number of in-house, non-teacher "Subject Matter Experts" leading training seminars.

But among the Training top 125, the ratio appears to be much higher. On average, the top 125 companies employed 232 full-time trainers and 395 part-timers, and trained an average of 41,890 employees. That comes out to close to 15 instructors per thousand students.

Even allowing for the fact that with a smallish sample size, a few really huge companies (such as McDonalds or Verizon) can skew the numbers, that ratio still stands out. The companies singled out by Training magazine, on average, employed almost three times as many trainers than normal.

And the money being spent on training backs that up. According to the Bersin study, companies spent an average of $800 per learner. But among the top 125 companies, the per-pupil spending is up to $3,465 — more than four times as much.

It's clear that these companies have invested a lot more in their training budgets than most. What do these numbers mean to you?

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