Weekend Poll Results: Credentials on the Rise for Admin. Professionals

With thanks to all who participated, here are the results of this past weekend’s poll. The focus?

What credentials do you bring to your role?

More than 65% of respondents have credentials reflecting post-secondary education

26% of respondents cited high school diplomas as their highest academic credential. That’s the same percentage of respondents who cited undergraduate degrees as their highest credential. Another 28% of respondents reported holding either a college or university diploma or certificate as their highest credential.

37% of respondents hold an undergraduate or graduate degree

You may recall me mentioning that friends at EUMA UK were keen to learn about readers’ interest in Master’s degrees. Well, a full 11% of respondents reported that they hold such credentials.

Are investments in such studies worthwhile?

When it comes to whether people consider post-secondary academic credentials to be worthwhile investments of time and financial resources, the percentage of positive responses declined in direct relation to the level of study.

How so? 73% of respondents considered pursuit of a certificate worthwhile, while 66% of respondents considered attainment of a diploma worthwhile. When it came to undergraduate degrees, 53% of you said yes. 29% of respondents found that to be the case for Master’s degrees, while only 9% of respondents considered investments of time and financial resources in doctorate degrees worthwhile.

Personal Fulfillment

I think it’s worth considering the perspective of one respondent who did not select the “yes” response in relation to pursuing a Master’s degree. S/he commented, “it’s personal fulfillment”. Educational undertakings are often paths to achieving career goals, but I would think that this person’s approach may resonate with more than a few readers.

Does the increase in credentials reflect generational changes, or are additional factors at play?

While a high school diploma was an entry point for many administrative careers not that long ago, a casual scan of current job opportunities will tell you that’s no longer the case. I know a number of stellar admin. professionals who hold senior admin. roles and are invaluable to their employers with their high school diplomas – as well as their strong skills,  commitments to ongoing development, and great attitudes and work ethics.

I suspect, though, that this percentage will continue to decline as recruiters seek employees with advanced credentials. Do you think it reasonable to suggest that the requirement for advanced credentials reflects the ongoing elevation of expectations of admin. professionals?

I believe there are also other reasons we’re seeing increasing numbers of people with undergraduate and graduate degrees in admin. careers. Talk with those around you, and you’ll likely hear a few factors. You can enjoy a very good quality of life in such a career, which is typically portable. We likely saw an influx of degree holders during economic downturns of the past decade. Like me, you may know people who entered such roles as temporary opportunities or first jobs out of university – and decided the career was a good fit. In more than one sector, there are a number of highly skilled, intelligent women and men who target senior administrative roles as stepping stones to management positions.

 

Additional certifications

Respondents recognise the merits of additional certifications, be they technical or reflective of being bilingual or trilingual – all tremendous assets to one’s career.

Readers are also turning to professional associations such as EPAA and IAAP for their credentials.

 

Funding your credentials, certifications and memberships in professional associations

Have a look in the data (below) on means of financial support. 49% of respondents reported that they are eligible for financial support from their employer for their pursuit of academic credentials. A slightly higher percentage, 55%, are eligible for employer support for pursuit of certifications through professional networks or associations.

A full 40% of respondents, though, are not eligible for financial support from their employer for membership in professional networks or associations … and you can see that similar percentages do not secure funding for academic credentials or other certifications through their employers. Yet others don’t know; they’ve not asked for such support.

These numbers have me thinking this may be a focus for advocacy, and for development and presentation of business cases to help convince employers of the merits of such pursuits.

 

Speaking of networks and associations …

Funded or not, respondents are an impressive bunch of networkers who clearly recognise the value of their professional associations. As you’ll see in the data below, you identified 28 different networks and associations – with many of them receiving multiple mentions. The four associations most frequently mentioned are EPAA, IAAP, EUMA and IAM.

 

The Data

 

CREDENTIALS – EARNED, AND IN PROGRESS

Graduation - Mortar Board

What is your highest academic credential ? 

  • Undergraduate degree: 26% of respondents
  • High school diploma: 26% of respondents
  • College or university diploma: 17% of respondents
  • College or university certificate: 11% of respondents
  •  Graduate degree – Master’s: 11% of respondents
  •  9% of respondents selected “Other”, and all but one of the people who provided comments indicated completion of additional education beyond high school / secondary school. Interestingly, at least three of the respondents who selected “Other” have significant credits toward an undergraduate degree. Comments included the following.
    • “Certificate of Higher Education (Credits towards BA Hons.)” …”2 years of university” … “two years of undergrad studies (went into workforce)”
    • “Apprenticeship in hotel management”
    • “Trade certificate”
    • “A levels”
    • “Business School Certificate”

Please identify any academic studies in which you are currently engaged. 

  • 79% of respondents: N/A – not currently engaged in academic studies
  • 7% of respondents: College or university certificate 
  • 5% of respondents: College or university diploma
  • 3.5% of respondents: Undergraduate degree
  • 3.5% of respondents: Master’s degree
  • 2% of respondents selected “Other”. One respondent commented, “Professional certificate”.

 

CERTIFICATIONS

Grand Central Stn 2016 Copyright Shelagh Donnelly

I asked readers to identify any additional certification(s) you hold. Below, in descending order of frequency of mentions, are your responses. You’ll want to know that a number of respondents identified memberships in response to this question and that I’ve included those responses later in this report. Intent for this question was to focus specifically on credentials for which a recipient had to demonstrate qualification.

ARE INVESTMENTS OF TIME AND FINANCIAL RESOURCES WORTHWHILE?

Time Redux

Do you consider pursuit of a certificate to be a worthwhile investment of your time and financial resources?

  • Yes: 73% of respondents
  • No: 23% of respondents
  • 4% of respondents selected “Other”. Comments are shown below.
    • “Not anymore at this stage of the game.”
    • “I would if I were younger and encourage my young staff to do so.”

Do you consider pursuit of a diploma to be a worthwhile investment of your time and financial resources?

  • Yes: 66% of respondents
  • No: 30% of respondents
  • 4% of respondents selected “Other”. Comments are shown below.
    • “Not anymore at this stage of the game.”
    • “too late in life for it to be worth spending the money”

Do you consider pursuit of an undergraduate degree to be a worthwhile investment of your time and financial resources? 

  • Yes: 53% of respondents
  • No: 45% of respondents
  • 2% of respondents selected “Other”. One of the respondents wrote, “see above”. This suggests to me that the person was referring to it not being worthwhile given this point in her/his career or at her/his age.

Do you consider pursuit of a Master’s degree to be a worthwhile investment of your time and financial resources? 

  • No: 66% of respondents
  • Yes: 29% of respondents
  • 5% of respondents selected “Other”. Comments are shown below.
    • “Depends what in and what results would bring”
    • “see above”
    • “although I am doing it, I don’t consider it worthwhile, it’s personal fulfillment”

Do you consider pursuit of a doctorate to be a worthwhile investment of your time and financial resources?

  • No: 89% of respondents
  • Yes: 9% of respondents
  • 2% of respondents selected “Other”. One of the respondents wrote, “see above”.
FUNDING PURSUIT OF CREDENTIALS & CERTIFICATIONS, and MEMBERSHIP IN PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS

Banco De La Nacion Argentina

Are you eligible for financial support from your employer for pursuit of academic credentials? 

  • Yes: 49% of respondents
  • No: 43.5% of respondents
  • 8% of respondents selected “Other”. Comments are shown below.
    • “Wouldn’t want it anyway.”
    • “Depends on the qual.”
    • “only that apply to my position as an EA”
    • “Don’t know”

Are you eligible for financial support from your employer for pursuit of certifications through a network or association? 

  • Yes: 55% of respondents
  • No: 44% of respondents
  • 8% of respondents selected “Other”. Comments are shown below.
    • “Probably, but haven’t asked”
    • “Not sure”
    • “Unsure”

Are you eligible for financial support from your employer for membership in a professional association or network?  

  • No: 55% of respondents
  • Yes: 40% of respondents
  • 5% of respondents selected “Other”. Comments are shown below.
    • “Probably, but haven’t asked.”
    • “Not sure”
    • “Don’t know”

 

YOUR ENGAGEMENT IN PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS

NYC Commuters 0805 G Copyright Shelagh DonnellyI asked readers to identify any professional networks/associations to which you belong. You’ll see your responses below, with a note that EPAA, EUMA, IAAP and IAM topped the list with the most frequent mentions. Readers identified almost 30 distinct networks to which they belong.

 

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