Who should pay?

Professionals should pay for their development

Photo by Josh Appel on Unsplash


Expecting the employer to pay for training, development, and conferences only leads to resentment when they say no. And besides, why should the employer pay for you to gain knowledge? You might leave. And you’d take the knowledge with you — the knowledge that they paid for.

It’s yours, so buy it yourself.

I know, I know, there will be many examples and cases of loyalty built through costs covered by the employer. But there are many times where that’s not happening, too.

Many companies establish a training budget and then dole it out to their favourites. Or the managers don’t tell their reports that it’s there at all. It’s just another line item on a budget that can easily be misused. It’s a line item that should be outsourced to the employee.


By the time I decided I wanted to complete an MBA, I’d already decided that I wasn’t going to ask my employer to pay for it. It was a noteworthy conclusion, to not even consider asking for shared or offloaded costs.

I think it’s because my position at that current company was already tenuous. Perhaps that’s why I started to consider further education, because I wasn’t sure I had longevity there.

Had that employer offered to pay for my degree, there would have been an expectation that I stick around so that they would benefit as well. And that’s only fair. Most professionals would see the unethical behaviour in having a course paid for, and then leaving shortly after.

Because we can’t predict the future, we can’t know who will employ us in twelve months.

Undertaking a training course gives the trainee the knowledge. And they take that with them, wherever they go.


There are radical changes in work life ahead of us in 2020. This will be the year that many new work arrangements are bedded in, including, of course, the ability to work remotely. There are myriad benefits to the options ahead of us at this time.

One of the radical changes, I think, should be in the costs base for companies, and how they allocate training budgets. There’s a possibility, right now, that training budgets will be slashed or cancelled in the near term.

So perhaps there’s a model ahead, where the user pays. Those who want to invest in their own education and professional development use their own income to pursue that.

Radical idea, maybe, but stay with me. We use our incomes for many choices in life: café coffee, new car, holiday. Perhaps self-education should be one of those chosen obligations.

When a company funds your training, education, or conference attendance, then you’re obligated to report back and share the knowledge, so that the payer benefits as much as you do. The obligation is that you are learning for their benefit.


Consider funding your development from your own income, as you do with buying coffee, buying a car or going on a holiday.

Those are things that make your life better, but so does self-education. And, once you’re trained, no one can take that knowledge away from you — it’s yours.