4 Reasons Employers Look for Certified Staff

Employers and recruiters value IT certifications, but do you know why? CompTIA's James Stanger presents research findings that explain why certifications are important to your career.

4 Reasons Why Employers Look for IT CertificationsOver the past few weeks, I’ve been putting my presentations together for next week’s Service Desk and IT Support (SITS) show. One will cover the service desk and the cyber kill chain, as created by Lockheed Martin’s workers. It’s going to be fun! I’ve even put together a cool little survey that asks help desk folks about their role – if any – in the company’s overall security posture. Come see me at the show, and I’ll let you know about the results.

I’ll also be giving a talk about the worker you can’t afford to replace. It’ll focus on the key skills needed to prosper in the IT service management (ITSM) industry. I hope to see you there in London!

As I’ve prepared for next week, I’ve been thinking about is the age-old debate in the IT industry: Are certifications really worth it? The data I’ve received has led me to conclude that in a fast-moving and ever-evolving industry, it is vital for employees to be able to demonstrate the skills they have. This isn’t really just my opinion. It’s a data-driven conclusion. Let me explain.

CompTIA’s HR Perception of IT Training and Certification Study, shows that 91 percent of employers believe that IT certifications play a key role in the hiring process and are a reliable indicator of a good candidate. If you are wondering why, here are four key reasons, as outlined by the survey.

  1. Certifications help employers fill open positions: Ninety-three percent of recruiters find it difficult to match the right candidate to the correct job opening. This is especially concerning during the current skills crisis, in which a lack of workers is severely affecting business productivity. I’ve found that most individuals who aren’t certified don’t have as good of a handle on how today’s technology is adopted and used in the industry. When you hold a relevant IT certification, you’ve done more than prove that you know technology. You’ve proven that you know how technology has been adopted and used by business today. And when hiring managers and recruiters see certifications, they can reduce the number of unqualified resumes they receive, making it easier to fill their vacancies.

    Currently, 72 percent of employers require certifications for certain IT jobs, and 92 percent of HR professionals have certifications themselves. This shows that the people responsible for hiring hold certifications in high regard, and so should you.

  2. Certified IT professionals make great employees: Employers agree that certified employees perform better and earn more recognition compared to non-certified staff.

    From the perspective of an employer:

    • 90 percent agree that IT-certified staff are more likely to be promoted.
    • 89 percent think IT-certified staff perform better in the same roles as non-certified staff.
    • 89 percent believe they are more likely to stay with their organization.
    • 88 percent say that IT-certified employees are rewarded for obtaining IT certifications – e.g., pay increases.
  3. IT certifications have grown in importance: Certifications are a good baseline validation of what employees learn, and this can be seen in their performance. Because of this, 94 percent of HR managers expect IT certifications to grow in importance over the next two years as compared to only 84 percent who said the same thing in 2013.

  4. Training alone is not enough: Employers agree that you need a certification to validate your skills. In fact, 88 percent of employers believe it’s important to test after training to confirm knowledge gains. In doing so, employees validate their skills and demonstrate that they have learned new abilities in a way that training alone cannot.

With the number of vacant IT positions expected to increase by 17 percent by 2022, driven by the lack of skilled professionals available, it’s inevitable that IT certifications will continue to play a significant role in the hiring process. New entrants into the industry must be able to prove their skills and show they can work at the forefront of the most rapidly evolving industry in the world.

Thanks for reading up on the value of certifications. Next week, get ready for a deep dive into practical perspectives from security and IT support professionals on how security works in their companies. Also, be prepared to learn more about the essential skills that will keep you relevant in the industry. Looking forward to seeing you there!

Attending SITS? Visit CompTIA at stand 517 and at our Breakfast Briefing on June 8. If you have CompTIA A+, Network+, Security+, Cloud+, Cybersecurity Analyst (CySA+) or CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP) certifications, you can earn Continuing Education units by attending James Stanger’s presentations, The Worker You Can’t Afford to Replace: A Report on Essential IT Support Skills and The Service Desk and Kill Chain. Tweet James before, during and after at @jamesstanger.

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