International Business Machines took top honors in Training magazine's annual ranking of the 100 best companies for training employees.

Training's Top 5

  1. IBM
  2. Pfizer Inc.
  3. Sprint Corp.
  4. Booz Allen Hamilton
  5. KLA-TENCO Corp.

Big Blue spends $700 million per year on training, and the average employee gets 54 hours of training per year, according to the magazine. The Armonk, N.Y.-based giant was cited as an innovator, with programs such as an $85 million learning initiative for managers and executives.

After two straight years on top, Pfizer Inc., New York, dropped to second place. Pfizer spends 14 percent of its overall budget on training, including its new Retaining Knowledge program, which helps senior leaders who are changing jobs to transfer knowledge and skills to successors.

Sprint Corp., Overland Park, Kan., placed third for the second straight year. Sprint reduced its new hire training time by 40 percent with a multimedia customer service training program in its PCS division.