Learning on the Clock

Canadian CFOs Not in Favour of Letting Workers Take Continuing Education Courses During Business Hours

Toronto, ON — Employers want financial employees who are well informed on the latest regulations, business trends and best practices. But they’re not always willing to let their teams pursue continuing professional education (CPE) opportunities on company time, according to a new survey from recruitment firm Robert Half Finance & Accounting.

Only 24 per cent of Canadian CFOs report their companies allow all employees to attend professional education courses while at work. Another 17 per cent say it depends on the employee. More than half of firms rarely or never let any staff take classes during business hours.

CFOs were asked, “Do you allow employees to attend continuing professional education (CPE) courses during business hours?” Their responses:

Yes, we support and accommodate employees to seek more education, even if classes are during business hours


Yes, dependent on if the employee has a proven track record for success


Not generally, but we have made exceptions in the past


No, we do not accommodate employees taking classes during business hours


Don’t know






“Professional education opportunities have become increasingly more accessible, especially through online options like webinars and eLearning seminars. Companies should encourage employees to make the most of the variety of platforms available, to help them stay on top of evolving financial trends and business insights,” said Greg Scileppi, president of Robert Half, International Staffing Operations. “Promoting development options that are flexible to schedules, learning preferences and individual goals, can be a powerful strategy for companies to recruit talented candidates, and keep current employees engaged, informed and motivated.”

Robert Half Finance & Accounting offers four tips for requesting to take continuing education courses during the workday:

  1. Be your own best advocate. Supervisors may need to be convinced to let employees take courses while at work. Build a business case for how the company will benefit from the skills you’ll acquire.
  2. Start small. If your boss frowns on continuing education during work hours, choose sessions that can be scheduled during your lunch hour.
  3. Emphasize the big picture. Is there a gap in your department’s knowledge base? Let your boss know how CPE classes will enable you to shore up those weaknesses and support the team.
  4. Evaluate different options. While some courses are online and others in-person, offerings from providers, including professional organizations, are evolving. Check with local professional associations to find opportunities that fit your needs.

About the Research

The survey was developed by Robert Half Finance & Accounting and conducted by an independent research firm. It is based on telephone interviews with more than 270 CFOs from a stratified random sample of companies in Canada.

About Robert Half Finance & Accounting

Founded in 1948, Robert Half Finance & Accounting, a division of Robert Half, is the world’s first and largest specialized financial recruitment service. The company has more than 325 locations worldwide and offers job search and management tools at roberthalf.ca/finance. For career and management advice, follow our blog at blog.roberthalf.ca. Follow Robert Half on Twitter at @RobertHalf_CAN for additional workplace advice and hiring trends.

For further information contact: Naz Araghian, (416) 865-2140, [email protected]  


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