December 8, 2023

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Diving overview:

  • About 6 in 10 students, job seekers and employees looking to change careers don’t think they have the right academic degrees to work in STEM science, technology, engineering and math fields, according to a new survey commissioned by IBM.
  • The survey, conducted in 13 countries and published on Tuesday, also found that 6 in 10 respondents worry that digital identities will be too expensive to earn. And roughly 4 in 10 said the biggest barrier to acquiring additional skills is not knowing where to start.
  • The study also shows reason for optimism among credential evangelists: 86% of respondents who earned a digital credential said it helped them meet their career goals, and 75% said digital credentials are a good way to supplement more traditional forms of education.

Diving statistics:

A new study offers a window into the misconceptions, confusion and fears surrounding digital credentials. Employers and colleges alike are promoting these offerings as having the potential to bridge the gap between education and the workplace at a time when technological advances are creating demand for rapidly changing skills.

If effective, credentials can help employees learn the skills needed for STEM fields and provide a strong signal to employers about what skills they are likely to present. The flexibility of digital credit programs could also help universities attract mature and non-traditional students while creating added value for students of all ages.

Various forms and objectives of the mandate received support from such people Association of Public and State Grant Universitiesmanagers work in the field of human resources and for-profit online education providers like Coursera. But the alternative credential space can seem overwhelming – one recent count found nearly 1.1 million certificates, badges, licenses and diplomas on offer in the US from a wide variety of providers.

For America’s higher education institutions, this means competing in an education and training space that is increasingly complex and crowded.

The new IBM-commissioned study involved interviews with more than 14,000 students, job seekers and career changers in 13 different countries, including a study administered by US Morning Consult that took place in the field from November 2 to December 20.

“There are many misconceptions about what it takes to pursue a rewarding and lucrative career in today’s fast-paced workplace,” Justina Nixon-Saintil, IBM’s head of impact, said in a statement. “That’s why we need to raise awareness of the breadth of science and engineering roles that exist across industries.”

The study shows some room for increased awareness of the credentials that could infuse employees into these roles. Only 47% of those who categorized themselves as students, job seekers or career changers said they were familiar with digital credential programs.

Yet more than 80% of all respondents said they plan to develop their skills in the next two years. About 90% expressed confidence that they could develop skills or learn from an online program. Yet only 25% planned to complete an online course in the next two years.

Respondents cited a desire to improve their career opportunities and have better qualifications as the main reason they wanted digital documents.

IBM promotes technology training internationally with a free program for adults, college, college, and high school students called SkillsBuild. To this end, it works with partners around the world and announces new or expanded partnerships with 45 organizations.

US-based partners include the University of the Cumberlands, Wond’ry at Vanderbilt University, and Digital Promise, a global nonprofit focused on students who have historically been excluded from the system.

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