When receiving a job offer, the first few things people usually look at are the salary, the paid time off (PTO), the retirement plan, and the insurance plan. Don’t get me wrong – these things are all very important, but there’s another perk you should really consider when accepting a job. It may not seem exciting on its face, but professional development is a perk that is definitely worth taking advantage of.
Depending on the field you work in, your schooling could have been really helpful in teaching you what you need to know. For me, I can say this was not the case. I majored in marketing and learned a lot of marketing theory – the 4 P’s, 3 C’s, Maslow’s Hierarchy, how to court a journalist circa 1950. What I needed to learn was SEO, online advertising, and Adobe programs. That’s where professional development comes in.
The smaller stuff, I tried to learn on my own at home. But there were things directly related to my job that I wanted to learn, things that would better me and in turn, benefit my company. I was lucky enough to be granted a LinkedIn Learning course from my employer on SEO, which is something I had been wanting to learn for some time. I was given the freedom to take the course once my regular work was completed, and was able to learn so much. Not only did this opportunity help me learn and grow my skills, but it also showed that my employer was invested in me and my future.
Companies that offer professional development show obvious interest in their workers’ futures. While there are never guarantees against layoffs or firings, typically employers who invest in their employee’s futures are in it for the long haul. And this is exactly what younger generations are into! In fact, 87% of millennials say professional development is important to them. This isn’t for no reason. Not only do professional development offerings show a level of commitment from your employer, but they also help you learn things you would never or could never have learned in school. They can also keep your skillset fresh if you’re not-so-fresh out of college. Lastly, professional development can lead you down paths you didn’t know you were interested in or even existed. It can help shape your career into something even better than you imagined.
In short, yeah, it’s worth looking for professional development opportunities on the list of benefits when searching for a new job. If you’re not looking to leave anytime soon, you can try asking your employer to sponsor something smaller, like a LinkedIn learning subscription, or even propose something bigger, like a class at the local community college. In the end, professional development benefits everyone – the employer gains a more skilled worker without hiring anyone new and the employee gains skills they otherwise couldn’t have. So, next time you’re examining the benefits package, look for professional development on the list!