A growing number of employees are looking to the classroom as budgets for training increase. According to recent research, nearly a third of chief financial officers report their organizations have increased their professional development budgets in 2017. Only 11 percent said these budgets have decreased. "Professional development goes beyond a simple training curriculum or individual performance improvement," says Tim Hird, executive director of Robert Half Management Resources, the organization that conducted the study. "The chance to learn and grow with a company is a key competitive differentiator for recruiting and retaining staff who want to continually improve their skills. Businesses that fail to provide training and ongoing development programs risk losing out on top performers." Additionally, the survey found that 63 percent of employees in the financial and accounting sectors received training in regulatory compliance, 57 percent in technology or software, 56 percent in technical skills, and 54 percent in other soft skills. But not all of this training took place in traditional classrooms, according to the report. A growing number of employers are looking to guest speakers from outside their organizations or job rotation programs, which place workers in different departments on temporary assignments with the goal of learning new skills.