SHRM-Certified Professionals Now Number 100K

Organizations will benefit greatly from competency-based HR as they move to a 21st century workplace.

By Henry G. Jackson April 18, 2017

In March, our profession reached a major milestone when the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) awarded its 100,000th certification—just two years after launching the SHRM-SCP and SHRM-CP program. Practitioners who hold these credentials are the advance team for tens of thousands more who will pursue SHRM certification—and, importantly, recertification—in the coming years.

The May issue of HR Magazine has a special focus on HR competencies and certification. It highlights the importance of taking a behavioral approach to our evolving profession. In our cover story, “Competencies Are Key to HR's Development,” we meet a diverse group of leaders who embraced the SHRM Competency Model in their careers and demonstrated their mastery by obtaining their SHRM certification. Although they come from different backgrounds and work in varying business environments, they all describe SHRM’s competencies as central to everything they do at work.

As the number of SHRM credential-holders grows, so will the collective expertise, reputation and prestige of our profession. Our organizations will also benefit greatly from competency-based HR as we make the transition to a 21st century workplace and an economy where people are the competitive differentiator.

SHRM certification demonstrates that an HR professional has done more than master technical knowledge and facts. Kimberly Hunter, one of the HR professionals featured in this issue, describes her competency-based approach to problem-solving. She says, “I am always the ‘what if’ person at meetings. … ‘If it works well here, how can we apply it there?’ ”

Her credential verifies mastery of specific behaviors that will allow her to apply her knowledge on the job. And that’s what makes SHRM certification different: It focuses not only on what professionals know but also on what they can do. It says they have the skills to take a holistic, creative approach to the challenges and opportunities they face each day.

In addition, our research shows that HR professionals who have the SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP earn more each year than those who don’t—$5,000 and $17,000, respectively, on average—and a majority believe that their certification was a factor in their getting promoted. Moreover, organizational leaders are telling us they count on the enhanced capabilities that SHRM credentials bring to the table, and employers are increasingly seeking out people who hold these certifications in the jobs they post.

It bodes well for businesses that there is a growing, global community of 100,000 HR professionals with the competencies needed to lead their organizations—taking charge of organizational strategy, talent acquisition, innovative workplace practices and more. And when they ask themselves and their organizations “what if,” they are truly shaping the future of business, work and our profession.

Henry G. Jackson is the president and CEO of SHRM. 

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