SHRM backs ‘alternative credentials’ in report
Higher Ed Dive
May 3, 2022
Training certificates, course completion certificates, industry or professional certifications and other types of “alternative credentials” can help employers further their hiring diversity, equity and inclusion goals as well as bolster career development, the Society for Human Resource Management said in a report published last month.
SHRM’s report included research it said was sponsored by a grant from Walmart made to the SHRM Foundation, its charitable arm. A survey of 1,129 U.S. SHRM members found that 90% said they believed that workers who held alternative credentials brought value to the workplace, while 59% said alternative credentials could uncover untapped talent.
The organization found several barriers to application of alternative credentials in hiring, however. Professionals surveyed ranked other factors, such as experience, educational background and work history, above credentials in terms of their importance in making hiring decisions. Respondents also cited varied quality between different credentials, uncertainty about evaluating credentials and a lack of clarity about which skills certain credentials signify.
The report identified some long-standing concerns held by employers regarding credentials. Proponents have touted their potential to promote business growth and fill critical talent gaps. Businesses that provide credentials have also publicized the success their graduates have had in securing high-paying careers, particularly in fields like software engineering.
Yet others have characterized the credentialing space as one that lacks common standards, not to mention the difficulty employers may have in confirming what skills a given credential may confer upon a candidate. SHRM’s survey also found that while most HR professionals said they agreed that alternative credentials may equate to an associate degree, only 36% said they may equate to a bachelor’s degree.