New Report: Management Training and Certifications Are Most Desired by Employees

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In a new report from PayScale, Inc., called Professional Development: What Employees Want, the nearly 38,000 workers surveyed by the compensation software firm were asking for two things:

  • management and leadership training (32%); and
  • professional certifications (30%)

More specific skills, such as technical training (17%), teamwork/interpersonal skills (8%), public speaking (4%), and diversity and inclusion (2%), fell further down the list. And just 7% of respondents were looking for employers to subsidize a degree, although marketing & advertising (10%) and media & publishing (9%) occupations reported higher there. This could be due to these occupations skewing younger and changing to require more technical skills.

"In our competitive talent economy, more employers are realizing the value of professional development to define career pathways for their most ambitious employees and, ultimately, to retain their best people at the organization," said Wendy Brown, Director at PayScale.

Some highlights from the report:

Promotion wanted. The highest percentage of respondents wanted professional development so they could get a promotion in their current role (35%) or to get a raise (33%). The next most popular reasons were to get a job somewhere else (19%) or to get a different role in their current organization (14%).

Personalize. Like everything else today that professional development should be personalized. "While there are some significant trends, our research shows professional development is really not a one-size-fits all approach," Brown said. "Employers should take the time to truly understand which programs and training opportunities would be most important to help every employee progress in his or her career in a meaningful way."

Gender difference. When PayScale looked at it from a gender perspective, they found that men were more motivated by getting a promotion in their current role and women by getting a raise in their current role. However, both men and women were equally motivated by getting a job somewhere else (both at 19%) and to get a different role within my current organization (both at 14%).

Occupation breakdown. It's interesting to see the breakdown by professional field. This could affect the services a SIPA publisher might offer. Employees in the healthcare industry indicated they were most interested in professional certifications (36%) followed by real estate at 35%, finance and insurance, and education at 33%. Likewise, employees in human resources were the most likely to want professional certification (43%) when compared to other occupations. Accounting and finance were at 39% and legal at 35%.

Generation breakdown. Millennials were more likely than Baby Boomers to be interested in professional development across the three top programs: management/leadership training, professional certification and technical skills training. That makes sense, of course. They're looking more at their career arc still. However, Boomers were more interested in teamwork/interpersonal skills training and public speaking training than Millennials.

Technically speaking. The desire to learn more technical skills was a little higher than the average for people in media and publishing occupations (22% vs. 17%).

Expose employees to outside thinkers. This was a final recommendation from PayScale: Whether it's through access to online learning destinations like Udemy, bringing industry leaders to your company for fireside chats or setting aside budget for employees to attend industry conferences, employees can gain fresh perspectives and innovate ideas from exposure to outsiders.

See the full report here.

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Ronn Levine began his career as a reporter for The Washington Post and has won numerous writing and publications awards since. Most recently, he spent 12 years at the Newspaper Association of America covering a variety of topics before joining SIPA in 2009 and SIIA in 2013 as editorial director…