The Case for Credentials and Certificates

UMKC TalentLink provides several courses that include a certificate upon completion. A recent survey underscored how valuable and prevalent alternate credentials have become for U.S. employers and workers. We share some key findings below based on recent research.

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) conducted research during the summer of 2021. Researchers examined employer and employee views of alternative credentials and their use in employment processes. They surveyed 4,354 professionals in total, including U.S. executives, supervisors, HR professionals, and workers with no direct reports.

What Are Alternative Credentials?

Alternative credentials are also known as an individual certificate, badge, micro-credential, or long-term study resulting in industry or professional certification. A credential, such as a UMKC TalentLink  certificate, indicates one’s competencies and skills within a particular field. Alternative credentials do not include traditional education (e.g., bachelor’s degree, associate degree.) or required occupational licensures (e.g., commercial driver’s license, license to practice law, etc.)

Key Findings from SHRM’s Report – The Rise Of Alternative Credentials In Hiring

Workplace leaders consider alternative credentials valuable for employee development, and employees who earn them gain more credibility. The majority of executives and supervisors consider credentialed employees to be better performers.

  • A majority of all employer groups—88% of executives, 76% of supervisors and 78% of HR—report their organization encourages employees to pursue alternative credentials as part of their career development or career interests. Most also view employees with alternative credentials more favorably when considering promotions or completing succession planning activities.
  • When asked if recognizing alternative credentials would increase their organization’s ability to hire more diverse candidates, about three-quarters of executives (79%) and supervisors (74%) agree, as well as more than half of HR professionals (55%).
  • When comparing alternative credentials to other qualifications, most executives (79%) and supervisors (61%) at organizations that currently use alternative credentials for hiring say their organization treats them as equivalent to other qualifications at times.
  • Employers also felt on the whole (95% of executives, 92% of supervisors and 91% of HR professionals) that candidates who only hold alternative credentials are just as or more likely to stand out in their role than those who only hold traditional educational backgrounds.

Clearly, credentials, such as certificates, play an important role in the professional development of workers. The survey indicates executive leaders, supervisors, and HR professionals value credentials as

  • Valuable for employment development and retention
  • Credible indicators of skills and comparable to experience and education
  • Favorable factor in evaluating performance and advancement potential
  • Attractive for increasing the ability to hire more diverse candidates

UMKC TalentLink – Your Source For Certificates

UMKC TalentLink offers non-degree courses that include a certificate upon completion. We are your resource for professional development. Are you an experienced professional who seeks to upskill to advance your career or to remain competitive? Are you an executive, supervisor, or HR professional with a business or organization that seeks to invest in training for your employees? Explore some of our current offerings.

Essential Financial Skills Certificate

First Time Supervisor Series Certificate

Data Analytics Series Certificate

Digital Marketing and Analytics Fundamentals Certificate

Bloch Executive Education – Strategic Leadership Program with Certificate

Need a certificate with another learning focus?

Reach out to UMKC TalentLink’s Business Development Director Candice Haines (chaines@umkc.edu) to learn about certificates and development that we can tailor to the needs of your business or organization.