IT Certifications Grow in Hiring Importance: CompTIA Report

Employers are inclined to rely more heavily on professional
certifications when hiring information technology (IT) workers, but are
challenged by credential evaluation and validation issues, research
from CompTIA, the non-profit trade association for the information
technology (IT) industry, suggested. The study indicated certifications
would grow in importance as organizations seek to fill tech jobs.

Among IT hiring managers nearly two-thirds (64 percent) rate IT
certifications as having extremely high or high value in validating
skills and expertise. Eight in ten human resources (HR) professionals
surveyed believe IT certifications will grow in usefulness and
importance over the next two years.

But employers also expressed concerns about some aspects of using IT
certifications in the hiring process. There is a perception among some
hiring IT managers that the HR department does not have a solid
understanding of IT certifications. Some firms also said verifying a
job candidate’s credentials can be a challenge due to the time involved
(cited by 44 percent of hiring IT managers) and effort required (38
percent).

"The value of certifications can be enhanced in a numbers of ways,"
said Tim Herbert, vice president of research for CompTIA. "Stronger
links with education; easier methods of verification; greater
understanding of what IT certifications can and cannot do; and more
organizational support for certifications as part of a professional
development program all would be positive steps in this direction."

Nearly 1,700 business, HR and IT executives participated in the survey,
designed to gain insight into how they evaluate job candidates, the
role of IT certifications in the hiring process, and how organizations
support professionals’ development. The study also noted professional
certifications are already viewed by hiring managers as a high-value
validation of IT skills.

Experience, track record and accomplishments rank as the most important
factors when evaluating job candidates, according to the study. But
education and credentials such as certifications also rank high. For
example, 86 percent of hiring managers indicate IT certifications are a
high or medium priority during the candidate evaluation process.

"From the employer’s perspective, top benefits of IT certification are
validation of an individual’s ability to understand new or complex
technologies, higher productivity and more insightful problem solving,"
said Herbert.

The study indicated that certifications would become even more
important as employers struggle to find individuals to fill job
openings. Despite a virtual buyer’s market for hiring, roughly eight in
ten HR executives in the United States said it’s challenging to find
the right candidate with the right skill set to fill their openings.
Many IT managers in the study shared a similar view: For certain
positions, the pool of available talent is not as deep as they would
like it to be.

"Now more than ever there’s little margin for error for making a bad
hire," Herbert said. "In an environment of needing to do more with
less, organizations cannot afford the time and cost of bringing on a
new employee who cannot contribute immediately."

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