- Research indicates that 95% of executives say it’s somewhat or very challenging to find employees with the appropriate skills and talents.
- Developing a micro-credential training program can help organizations fill immediate gaps in their skill base, as well as attract and retain talent.
- Micro-credentials can be designed from scratch by businesses, and they can be delivered in increments to stagger program stages.
As if the labor shortage wasn’t already enough of an issue for businesses, sourcing potential employees with the right qualifications can be a huge and arduous task as well.
It’s hard to find enough people to work, but when these workers also need to possess the correct skillset – employers find themselves struggling to find the right talent.
Research indicates that 95% of executives say it’s somewhat or very challenging to find employees with the appropriate skills and talents, which is now known as the “skills gap.” By 2030, experts predict there will be a global talent shortage of about 85 million people.
Micro-credentials are an emerging solution to this issue.
What are micro-credentials?
Micro-credentials are smaller qualifications that a worker can have that demonstrate skills, knowledge, and experience in a specific subject area or capability.
Also known as nanodegrees, micro-credentials’ range tends to be narrower than traditional qualifications, like degrees.
Micro-credentials can be awarded for soft and hard skills. Topic areas can include self-management, teamwork, or digital marketing, etc. The subject areas are unlimited.
How will micro-credentials impact the future of work?
Micro-credentials can be extremely beneficial for both employers and employees—both now and into the future.
Here are some reasons why the micro-credential will make a notable impact on the future of work.
- Scalable and cost-effective training: Scalable training programs like micro-credentialing can offer a cost-effective way to maintain competitiveness and enable workers and businesses to meet changing market demands. Scaling up employee training according to need is an invaluable way to outpace competition.
- Micro-credentials build upon one another toward a larger qualification: Micro-credentials are less intimidating to start than a traditional degree program. Employees can continually gain new knowledge to keep pace with changing business needs while also progressing toward a bigger goal.
- On-demand, individualized learning: Micro-credentials offer a more personalized, on-demand learning experience. Unlike traditional degrees which take years to complete, micro-credentials can be completed in weeks or even days, which appeals to workers who want to learn quickly and apply their new skills on the job.
- Business needs become aligned with career aspirations: Developing a micro-credential training program can help organizations fill immediate gaps in their skill base while also being part of a strategy to attract and retain talent by understanding employee growth opportunities and career aspirations. By ensuring employees are continuing to develop new skills, businesses not only reskill their current employee population, but also attract new workers who are eager to learn and advance within the company.
Micro-credentials support the culture of learning
With the current labor shortage, micro-credentials offer an easier and effective way to attract and train employees, while also fostering a culture of continuous learning. A learning culture is important because it helps employers and companies capitalize on their employees’ potential to grow the business.
“When designed correctly, micro-credentials are flexible, portable and cost-effective to implement. They can help boost employee engagement and support employers by promoting a culture of lifelong learning while providing a map for an employee’s career path,” Kyle Shea, EVP of Partnership Development at All Campus told Forbes.
Shea said that employees from the younger generations have always been able to control when and how they gather information, and the ease of obtaining micro-credentials will allow them to learn in a way that feels more natural. Regardless of the learner’s age, online learning offers the convenience and flexibility working professionals are looking for.
Companies that effectively nurture their workforce’s desire to learn are at least 30% more likely to be market leaders in their industries.
Obtaining micro-credentials offers flexibility
The flexibility micro-credentials offer to companies and their training programs can be very valuable. Micro-credentials can be designed from scratch by businesses, and they can be delivered in increments to stagger program stages.
Instead of designing one program for particular departments or teams, businesses can provide micro-credential training to individual staff members as needed.
Micro-credentialing allows businesses to build competencies quickly by delivering training programs in highly targeted subject or capability areas without employees ever having to commit to long-term qualifications.
Giving training on demand can benefit businesses by allowing them to direct resources when it’s more appropriate, which can be helpful for employees as training can be fixed to align with their schedules and give them flexibility to learn when they’re able.
How can companies create micro-credential programs?
To support employee advancement, companies should build as much autonomy as possible into their micro-credential programs.
These programs allow for the creation of personalized development plans that address the individual’s career aspirations as well as the organization’s skill-building needs.
Organizations should begin by identifying the critical skills and competencies they need to upskill and reskill their workforce. Once they have that data, they can partner with universities that offer micro-credentials aligned with their needs.
A Microsoft Asia report foresees micro-credentialing gaining much more popularity with the increasing utilization of artificial intelligence technologies.
Kate Behncken, Vice President of Microsoft Philanthropies, believes workers, enterprises, and governments can all benefit.
“This (micro-credentialing) enables more flexibility in the labor market, including more flexibility for people to retrain or re-enter the workforce.”