The value of employee training and certification in IT departments


The value of employee training and certification in IT departments

Read Time 6 minutes

It's no secret that there's a global shortage of qualified information technology (IT) workers. This is especially the case in financial and business services, TMT (technology, media, and telecommunications), and manufacturing. Given current trends, we expect to face millions of unfilled tech jobs in these sectors by the next decade, resulting in trillions of dollars in unrealized revenue.

Many IT departments are already feeling the impact of this skills gap. Between the tight labor market and the increased mobility of workers, they often struggle to build teams that can keep pace with advancements in technology.

Meanwhile, cyber threats continue advancing, with cybercriminals leveraging increasingly sophisticated social engineering, phishing, malware, and ransomware attacks, resulting in disastrous data breaches and major business disruptions. In the absence of informed in-house thought leaders, cybersecurity (and even basic security awareness) lags behind.

As a result of this skills gap, employees are stuck playing catch up on a daily basis rather than investing their time in improving customer experience, developing new offerings, or meeting other business goals.

As noted in a recent report from Pearson VUE, the shortage of tech talent is causing an alarming economic impact. A separate Global Knowledge study found that most IT decision makers report their employees lose three to nine hours of work per week filling in these gaps.1 In some cases, this skills gap ate up 10 or more hours per employee, per week. That's the equivalent of losing more than a full workday every week or wasting nearly $30,000 of employee productivity per employee each year.

Benefits of IT certification training and development programs

Organizations actively investing in skills training and certification programs see some immediate benefits.

Most obviously, training and certification are more cost-effective than hiring. According to recent statistics, in 2023 it costs between $3,000 and $5,000 (or more per candidate) to bring in new talent, with that number climbing for more skilled or seasoned professionals.2 Crucially, it’s now taking between one and two months to find that talent.3 Meanwhile, that vacancy is costing the average company $98 per day—so, in reality, finding and attracting that new hire costs closer to $9,000. Finally, it will take between three and eight months for that extremely expensive new hire to become fully productive in their new role.

But, employee training programs that upskill existing team members to fill new roles cost only $1,200 to $1,400 per participant. That cost can sink as low as $477 per employee for large organizations that enjoy economies of scale in their training programs.4 And that in-house investment also helps with employee retention—which is absolutely vital in a tight labor market, where a qualified candidate with an especially in-demand set of skills may be next to impossible to attract or keep.

Management has also found that employees with additional IT training and certifications perform better on the job. Nearly two-thirds of IT managers surveyed by Pearson VUE found that industry-recognized IT certifications significantly increased employee work efficiency. It also made these team members better guides and mentors to their coworkers and more able to stay current on emerging security issues, new cyber threats, and technological developments in their field. Credentialed IT staff were more innovative, and their training resulted in teams that were more creative in their problem solving and more broadly connected within their industry.

IT certification and training ROI

As one corporate vice president noted to Pearson VUE, “Right now, we may not even know about some of the technologies that could be relevant and we could use. The person with a certification would educate us or advise us that other things are possible and are available.“

This is particularly true with IT security training, cybersecurity, and networking-specific certifications like CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional) and AWS Certified Security (for those relying on Amazon Web Services for their cloud solution).

And while certification’s financial return on investment can be significant — one study5 found that more than half of decision makers estimated the annual economic benefit created by their upskilled and certified employees exceeded $10,000 — notable organizational benefits also include increased efficiency, improved peer relationships, stronger performance, and more.

Now is an excellent time to explore comprehensive training solutions with bulk discounts on training courses and certification prep materials to further increase the financial upside that comes with upskilled IT staff and future-proofed teams.

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