IDC Guest Blog: How micro-credentials can optimize skills in the organization
Published Jun 05 2024 09:00 AM 2,134 Views
Copper Contributor

There’s no question about it: People are the make-or-break element of a high-performing IT organization. To stay competitive, organizations must ensure that they have the right people with the right skills in the right positions. But with accelerating tech advancements, doing so has never been tougher.


IDC data reveals that IT skills shortages are widening in both scope and severity. According to 811 IT leaders responding to the IDC 2024 IT Skills Survey (January 2024), organizations are experiencing a wide range of negative impacts relating to a dearth of enterprise skills. Nearly two-thirds (62%) of IT leaders tell IDC that a lack of skills has resulted in missed revenue growth objectives. More than 60% say that it has led to quality problems and a loss of customer satisfaction overall.


As a result, IDC now predicts that by 2026, more than 90% of organizations worldwide will feel similar pain, amounting to some $5.5 trillion in losses caused by product delays, stalled digital transformation journeys, impaired competitiveness, missed revenue goals, and product quality issues.


To maintain competitiveness, organizations everywhere must improve IT training. They must go beyond just putting more modern IT training platforms and learning systems in place, however. Rather, they must invest in instilling and promoting a culture of learning within the organization — one that values ongoing, continuous learning and rewards the accomplishments of learners. Vendor- and technology-based credentials have long been core to organizational training efforts, and for good reason: They provide organizations with a way to ascertain important technical skills. And full-vendor credentials still matter, of course. But IDC data shows growing excitement about badges and micro-credentials as a means of verifying more specific scenario- or project-based skills.


When less is more

Without a doubt, vendor certifications remain a critical tool for hiring new professionals and upskilling existing ones. IDC data reveals that they can enhance career mobility, engagement, and salary. In fact, according to IDC’s 2024 Full and Micro Credential Survey (March 2024), some 70% of IT leaders say that certifications are important when hiring, regardless of how experienced candidates are in their careers. But organizations these days also find specific scenario- or project-based micro-credentials to be increasingly appealing as a complement to full-fledged vendor credentials.


To this point, more than 60% of organization leaders tell IDC that they use micro-credentials to test and validate specific skills related to real-world technical scenarios. They say that it also helps them to prepare themselves and their employees for in-demand job roles (55%) and to fulfill upskilling and reskilling needs (53%).


Q. What are the main factors driving the consideration of the use of micro-credentials?

Source IDC 2024 Digital Skilling Survey March 2024.png

Source: IDC 2024 Digital Skilling Survey, March 2024


Moving forward

As the IT skills shortage continues to expand and worsen, IDC predicts that global IT leaders will face increasing pressure to get the right people with the right skills into the right roles. Adding to the pressure is the rapidly growing demand for AI skills. According to IDC’s Future Enterprise and Resiliency Survey, 58% of CEOs worldwide are deeply concerned about their ability to deliver on planned AI initiatives over the next 12 months.


A full-featured IT training program that lets organizations and employees hone the skills they have makes all the difference. Credentials, whether full or project based, are a key part of any thoughtful IT training and continuous skilling initiative. Full credentials and micro-credentials together allow organizations to determine where skill gaps lie and create a plan of action to skill up employees on the technologies and projects on which they rely.


Organizations should focus on involving key stakeholders across departments to get their buy-in and partner with established credentialing organizations to add credibility. They should design clear career pathways that show how reskilling with micro-credentials and certifications can align with company goals and lead to faster promotions. They should foster a culture of continuous learning to keep skills current as well as update the program with industry trends and emerging technologies to maintain its relevance. Finally, they should regularly assess the program’s effectiveness in closing the skills gap and adjust as necessary.


Investing in continuing education for your employees just makes plain sense. IDC’s research has long shown that companies that invest in training are better able to retain their best, most talented employees.


For more information, read IDC InfoBrief, Skilling Up! Leveraging Full and Micro-Credentials for Optimal Skilling Solutions

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