2016 State of Certification Report: Certifications help employers hire better talent and empower employees
“Most people have heard the challenge”, says Rick Joslin, executive director of Certification & Training HDI & ICMI at UBM, “if I invest in certifying employees then they are likely to leave. They forget that the second half of this famous statement is, "if you don’t invest in them, then the best people leave and the rest stay.”
Recruiting technologies are rapidly changing, and organizations around the world struggle to find candidates who possess the right skill set for open positions. To more deeply understand this challenge, the IT Certification Council (ITCC) conducted an employer survey to better understand how employers are solving these issues.
The results of the ITCC 2016 Employer Survey show that certification is a powerful way for employers to verify skills during the recruitment process, simplify hiring and empower employees to contribute to the company at a higher level.
“Leaders who don’t leverage certifications to raise the performance bar, improve employee skills and increase employee morale, miss out on improving customer satisfaction while improving the efficiency of the organization,” said Joslin.
Certifications increase employee engagement and productivity
Employers that can’t find certified candidates are increasingly using their own resources to certify existing talent. In response to this survey, 68% of employers report funding certification exams for existing employees. These activities indicate that both employers and employees are placing a high value on certification.
Certification also works as a powerful incentive for employees, as 65% of candidates reported that certification positively impacted their professional image and reputation. Additionally, 59% stated that certification either helped them gain confidence in performing their job tasks or achieved higher performance ratings. Employers agree with 92% saying that IT certifications help to ensure credibility of IT employees. 1
“Employees want to feel that their employer invests in them and values their skills,” says Kristin Wall Gibson, IBM Solution Certification Strategy program manager. “Certifications allow employees to show a current or future manager that they have the skills required for the job, and, especially when coupled with real world experience, give the hiring manager a sense of security.”
Online recruiting efforts
Advancements in technology enable employers to capitalize on social media and digital job boards with ease and frequency. Nearly all employers surveyed report they use online platforms to recruit employees and 18% of all external hires utilize job boards and social media platforms. As employers find increased value in online recruiting tools, platforms like Glassdoor and LinkedIn report an 81-111% growth in traffic.2
Employers are also finding the quality of online information to be of value. In this study, 80% of respondents agreed that the candidate information found on business-oriented social networking sites such as LinkedIn to be ‘very trustworthy’ or ‘fairly trustworthy’. The ability to verify a candidate’s education and experience as well as validate technical skills via certification through social media makes it easier for recruiters to quickly assess the potential of prospective job candidates.
Joslin said that recruiters connect certification with certain characteristics about potential job candidates.
“If presented with three candidates who claim to have similar experiences and knowledge and one has a certification,” says Joslin, “[we believe] the [certified] candidate has demonstrated [greater] commitment to the profession and a recognition that learning is key to ongoing success.”
Certifications help employers find quality talent
According to this survey, 90% of employers find it ‘very challenging’ or ‘somewhat challenging’ to recruit qualified candidates for open positions, with 72% stating difficulty in finding candidates with required skills. To address this issue, employers use certification to help find the best person for the job. According to CompTIA's recent employment survey, 72% of employers said they require IT certifications for certain job openings. In addition, when seeking quality talent, 66% of employers report paying higher salaries to certified candidates.
Jim Lucari, senior manager of Certification Solution Development and Global Partner Enablement at HPE, believes that certifications can often help to speed up the hiring process and ensures candidates are properly equipped for certain positions. In fact, 91% of employers believe that IT certifications save time and resources while evaluating new candidates. Certifications provide a baseline set of knowledge and prove employee credibility.
“Some certifications are so rigorous that they improve candidate skills and understanding just by pursuing the certification,” says Lucari. “The certification is the exam that validates skills and experience, but in the process of training for that certification, candidates gain necessary knowledge and skills to perform well on the job.”
Every employer knows how critical it is to have the right person with the right skills in the right job. However, without the right certifications and the ability to verify those credentials, it can be difficult to identify the best candidate and verify skills quickly and accurately. The results of these studies indicate that the growing best practice is to use certification as a tool for identifying qualified candidates in the recruiting, hiring and professional development space.