Training and development jobs attract a wide variety of people: teachers, for example, who want to get out of the classroom and specialize in a business field; or working professionals looking to change careers and play an important role in the development of a company’s workforce.
The common bond among them all is an outgoing personality, great communication skills and a desire to help others improve their careers.
It’s good the profession casts such a wide net. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) calls for the number of training and development managers to jump 7% by 2024, resulting in thousands of people moving into the profession.
Part of the increase involves technology and innovation, which requires more specialized training from development managers. For example, companies that increasingly use remote workers or contractors will have to create specialized training for those workers.
What Development Associates Do
Another driver behind the growth of development management positions is the need for businesses to compete against aggressive, smart competition. That means a solid plan for recruiting and retaining quality employees, which typically falls to human resources leadership.
However, once someone is hired they must get the training they need to best perform their job. That’s where development managers come in.
While the job duties can vary depending on the industry or size of a company, a development manager typically focuses on:
- Creating training programs for employees, including the selection of course content
- Managing a staff of specialists in training and development
- Teaching specialists how to educate employees in the training programs
- Working with managers in departments across an organization to determine their training needs
- Managing a department and training budget
- Working with top executives to ensure training works hand in glove with overall business goals
Skills and Education for Development Associates
A development manager position is typically well-suited for extroverted people with great interpersonal and communication skills.
The creation of training classes and choosing of all the related materials calls for advanced skills in critical thinking as well as decision-making. A development manager has the last word on training classes, materials and instruction for those teaching the class. It’s not a good position for those who don’t feel comfortable in a decision-making role.
Leadership skills also are important for success as a development manager, particularly for those who work in large organizations where they may have to not only lead a department but work with top executives on long-range plans.
Most of those in development and training earn bachelor’s degrees in human resources, business administration or some type of related field. Many jobs in the profession now call for earning a master’s degree in areas such as human resources or organizational leadership.
Most senior-level development associates and managers also have years of experience spent as a training specialist.
Salary and Career Outlook
The time spent in school and on-the-job experience pay off for many in the training and development field.
In May 2016, the most recent year for which figures were available, the BLS reported that the median pay for training and development managers was $105,830. The top 10% of those in the field earned $184,990.
Development associates in the private sector, working in companies and business enterprises, commanded the highest levels of pay at $114,290 per year.
As noted above, the number of jobs in the profession should increase about 7% by 2024. That translates into 2,300 more people working in the field. Highly regulated fields such as finance and insurance will provide a wealth of opportunities, as well as companies in the technology sector.
Clearly, development associates will continue to provide a key service to organizations, especially with the training required with emerging technologies and, in some cases, a more decentralized workplace.