Many HR and talent acquisition systems don’t recognize the digital credentials often included on resumes and on job applications, according to a Northeastern University survey.
Instead, most recruitment systems remain geared toward traditional educational information—such as bachelor’s and master’s degrees—and unstructured data such as PDF attachments.
Northeastern’s Center for the Future of Higher Education and Talent Strategy surveyed 750 HR leaders in partnership with the 1EdTEch Foundation to better understand how employers use digital credentials in the recruitment process.
Our 2021 survey confirmed that hiring managers are interested in the growing adoption of digital credentials and skills-based hiring practices, but found technical integration between HR systems to be a significant barrier.
Half of the respondents reported that data-rich learning and track records would challenge their existing systems and processes. In contrast, the other half said their systems are ready to integrate digital credentials.
Educational institutions and professional associations issue millions of unaccredited digital certificates. But there seems to be a huge disconnect between what applicants submit and what employers see and use to make a hiring decision.
“You have this massive trend, but you don’t have other systems that keep pace,” says Emilee Trieckel, research associate at Northeastern. “We talk a lot about the potential for digital adoption, but to make it happen, these other systems need to work in harmony.”
The rise of intermediaries like LinkedIn, Indeed, and others often add a third party between the job seeker and the employer. When an applicant’s credentials pass through these sites, they are often reduced to the lowest common denominator—a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree, for example.
Many job seekers add information or data to their applications that you will never make it to employers to review.
Online credentials started to appear in the early 2010s. Massively Open Online Course platforms such as Coursera and edX have partnered with some colleges to offer low-cost online degrees.
In parallel, some degree-awarding institutions—mostly community colleges—have enhanced their non-credit degree offerings such as accelerated boot camp programs.
The main conclusion of the report is that recruitment systems are not equipped to accept most of them.
“There are millions and millions of data points out there,” says Sean Gallagher, founder and executive director of the Northeastern Center for the Future of Higher Education and Talent Strategy and executive professor of educational policy.
The purpose of the analysis conducted during 2022 and early 2023 is to explore how current HR technologies address non-traditional educational credentials. The research used a representative sample of program presenters, interviews and presentations.
The number of educational and professional degrees available in the United States has grown exponentially since the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
According to the report, there are more than 1 million unique credentials, including about 660,000 credentials from non-academic providers.
“How is that set into a consistent structure on the part of the employer?” Gallagher asked.
The report is available online: cps.northeastern.edu/wp-conten… Acquisition_Tech.pdf
the quoteResearch says (2023, May 1): Non-science digital credentials may enter black hole when applying for jobs, Retrieved May 1, 2023 from https://phys.org/news/2023-05-digital-non-degree- credentials-black-hole.html
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