Tech workers are less likely to explore other job opportunities when their current employer covers the cost of their training and certification, according to a new global study showing that cloud computing, cybersecurity and networking are the most common certifications.
While 83% of respondents who paid for their own education said they were interested in exploring new job opportunities, Pearson VUE’s 2023 Value of IT Certification Candidate Report found, this dropped to 75% among candidates whose employers paid for their training.
“Employers who invest in training and certification of their IT staff are more likely to retain them,” the company found, noting a similar drop — from 88% of applicants to 77% — among those whose employers paid to work for them to study and sit certification exams.
Employers were more willing to cover training and exam costs during the disruption of the pandemic years, the study found, identifying hybrid and telecommuting, e-commerce and work process automation as key trends gaining momentum during the pandemic and, the company noted, are “no longer trends but new realities”.
Managers seemed to get the message: 59% of respondents to the report – which surveyed more than 21,000 IT professionals in 176 countries – said their employers had invested more in IT skills training in the past 12 months than in the previous year .
Younger workers embraced the qualifications faster than their older counterparts: 42% of Gen Z respondents were considering certification – compared to 15% of Millennials and only 7% of Baby Boomers.
Those who achieved certification believed their new skills had made them more valuable employees – 81% said they felt they produced higher quality work after completing certification, 77% felt more able to to innovate, 74% said they felt they had more autonomy and independence at work. and 72% feel more efficient and productive.
“Employers are supporting efforts to upskill employees,” the report notes, “and as a result, they are seeing higher quality work outputs and employee retention rates are improving.”
Certifications earn more
There was also a strong correlation between completing technical certifications and receiving a pay rise, with 37% saying their new qualifications had led to a salary or pay rise – up from 28% in 2020.
For many technology specialists, those increases came immediately: 12% of employees said they received a raise as soon as they completed their certification, and 15% said their salary was increased within a month.
Six months after completing a technical certification, a further 56% of respondents said they had received pay raises – confirming that employers often see new skills, particularly in high-demand areas, as having enough value to offer workers a raise. to guarantee .
Not only did most candidates see pay increases, so did employers – especially in light of the transformative ‘Great resignation‘ – were more generous than ever before.
Of those who received a raise, 35% said their salary increased by 30% or more after completing certifications last year – up from a 28% increase in 2020 and just 20% in 2018.
“Clearly, certification enabled the acquisition of new skills, qualifying candidates for better and more rewarding jobs,” said Dr. Gary Gates, general manager of Pearson VUE. to announce the new findings.
“Respondents…believe that certification not only increases mobility for them as employees, but also increases profitability for the companies they work for.”
“By completing certifications, candidates are well placed to improve their current working conditions or improve their prospects as they explore new job opportunities.”
Support the new normal
Whether the increase in salaries is a new long-term trend or an artifact of a now-completed hiring trend – last year tech companies dismissed more than 70,000 employees worldwide, causing stress for employees as well as possibilities for employers – remains to be seen.
By all accounts, many tech companies seem to have over-recruited during the pandemic, pushing skilled workers into an increasingly hungry work stream as they drive massive digital transformation agendas.
Despite an overall slowdown in global IT spending, recent Gartner projections put Australia’s IT spending growth at 5.8% this year – more than double the global 2.4%.
That spending will be led by software, with development and deployment teams expected to see a 10.9% increase in spending.
Not only does the new numbers confirm that earning in-demand certifications is not just a money-printing license for candidates, but is also a retention tool for employers whose digital change agenda has become more complex during the pandemic – and remains so as businesses continue to transform .
“We had no doubt that the trends emerging from the pandemic would have far-reaching and lasting implications for the workplace and certification,” said Gates.
“What has become clear is that remote working and learning is here to stay, and with it the demand for the necessary skills and certifications that will support this new way of working and learning…. Now more than ever, employers are desperate to fill critical skills gaps with certified candidates.”