When you hear “working 9 to 5,” what comes to mind? Other than maybe getting Dolly Parton stuck in your head on repeat, for me it elicits images of a typical, but somewhat outdated, work environment circa the 1970s or 1980s. The reality is that a lot has changed since this phrase was coined – much of which transformed in just the past few years alone. Most employees can fulfill their job responsibilities outside of traditional hours and a brick-and-mortar office.
While we’ve seen so much of our work lives evolve, credentialing organizations have seen both challenges and opportunities emerge from this transition. Since the current market favors the job seeker, an inability to evolve old approaches can create significant challenges in management of certifications and credentials. Below are a few strategies to be sure your organization stays ahead of the curve while also promoting the value of your organization’s credentials along the way.
1. Establish or leverage existing relationships with educational institutions
Here are some interesting statistics for you. Fifty-three percent of those graduating with a bachelor’s degree don’t apply to an entry-level job in their field because they perceive themselves as being unqualified. Similarly, 40% of employers say recent collegiate grads are not prepared for employment. Finally, 19% of students find that their collegiate experience does not prepare them for the world of work.
While this is an area that is difficult for many credentialing organizations to get involved with, it is possible to help better prepare individuals for work in their technical fields. As experts in your particular field, credentialing organizations are well positioned to establish deeper relationships with educational institutions, providing insight on expectations for the new professionals and trends in the work. Some organizations have provided insight through:
- Communicating about core skill sets that organizations require a new hire to have on day one
- Creating scholarships and/or fellowships to make achieving that education and certification more accessible
- Holding networking events to connect students and professionals
- Providing discounted or free study materials
Considering the fact that 65% of jobs still require an associate’s or bachelor’s degree, having these relationships in place will ensure that these students are learning applicable skills that will benefit them and organizational stakeholders post-graduation.
2. Explore alternate pathways to attract new workers
Many credentialing bodies have valid concerns about future workers in their profession. A number of professions are struggling with knowing where the required number of workers in their sector will be coming from, as many individuals have retired or switched careers on a more frequent basis over the past two years. Professions such as nurses, veterinary professionals, facility managers, and many more are seeing major gaps between the number of workers required and those graduating from education or training programs.
Credentialing organizations are in a unique position given their knowledge of their disciplines to partner with businesses on how to attract new professionals. While few have engaged their industries deeply to bridge this gap, some industries have looked intensively at where to recruit their next generation of workers.
For example, the FAA is tapping into a demographic that may have previously flown under the radar – yes, pun intended. They are targeting candidates from ages 18 to 30 years old who are self-described gamers. Why, you ask? The skills utilized to excel in video games are easily transferrable to that of a day in the life of an air traffic controller. In the NBC report, a current supervisor even acknowledges utilizing video games to hone her skills and stay sharp within her role. Consider what unique subgroup that may already have the knowledge, skills, and abilities where you might partner with groups and organizations to attract individuals into the profession and entry-level credentials.
3. Create upskilling opportunities through certification programs
Gone are the days – if they ever truly existed – where you can hire a person and assume that they’ll be content within their existing role and compensation for years to come. For employers to retain individuals, it is important to show interest and investment in their growth and development.
This opens a door for credentialing bodies. These upskilling needs can create opportunities for training, paired with certificate programs, specialized certification, and creative Maintenance of Certification (MoC) programs. By conveying the value of these programs to employers and workers alike, this can facilitate a key need that employers have while also giving credential holders creative ways of achieving skills improvement.