At the end of The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy learns: “If I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own backyard. Because if it isn’t there, I never really lost it to begin with.”
According to an annual project manager salary and developmental survey conducted by ESI International, companies have learned that same lesson — it’s more advantageous to support homegrown talent than spend time and money recruiting.
Responding companies said they saw an average of 501 percent return on investment when training newly graduated talent. Although that number dropped to 268 percent for midlevel and 358 percent for senior managers, the findings still support the idea that training from within is more lucrative than searching for high-level project managers outside of an organization.
Part of the push to develop talent from within stems from the effort involved in recruiting high-level managers with extensive experience — almost half of responders said it was “very difficult” to find such employees. The cost and time advantages of training current entry- and midlevel project managers also makes training from within a more attractive option.
ESI International is a global, project-focused training company, so it definitely has its own professional ax to grind by releasing this survey. That said, some of the issues cited in the report’s conclusion are very true: It takes a while for an employee to get acclimated to a company — I’ve been at Chief Learning Officer for a month now and I only recently found the supply of highlighters. With the economy coming back, many advanced employees are reconsidering retirement, which will leave senior-level positions open and ready to be filled.
The question is, will companies conduct an outside job hunt or stick to what’s in their own backyard?