CHRP provides career boost: Study

Certification means faster job progression, more earning potential
By Liz Bernier
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 10/22/2013

When it comes to career progression and earning potential, the Certified Human Resources Professional (CHRP) designation can provide a major push forward.

A 2013 study by PayScale in partnership with the Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA) indicates employer demand for the designation across Canada is growing every year.

Faster job progression and greater earning potential are two major benefits for professionals who have the CHRP when compared to HR practitioners who don’t, found Fuel for HR Careers.

“Employers are being a lot more discriminating in terms of the documented competence that HR professionals are bringing to the workplace,” said Chris Larsen, vice-president of marketing and membership at the Toronto-based HRPA.

Between 2007 and 2012, the amount of job postings requiring the CHRP on Hire Authority Canada, HRPA’s job board, increased by 86 per cent. In 2007, only 36 per cent of postings required the CHRP but, by 2012, 68 per cent did. By 2013, more than 70 per cent of job postings asked for the designation.

But getting the CHRP means much more than checking off a bullet point on a job application, he said.

“There’s certainly prestige in terms of holding the designation — you’re saying to your employer and to your colleagues that you have completed all of the requirements to get the designation, so it says to the employer that you bring that competence to the table,” said Larsen.

The designation adds so much value to an HR career — whether financial, reputational or otherwise — because it is tangible proof of a professional commitment to learning and skill development, he said.

“It’s inherent in the CHRP that you are committed to an ongoing, lifelong regimen of professional development — you are committed to maintaining the currency of your skills.”

Early career development

While the designation can add value to any stage of an HR career, it is most valuable for those who are in the early stages of career development, found the study.

“With the lower level positions, having a certification gives you a leg up above other people, and gets you into the right path to move into those higher level roles faster — and with more money,” said Katie Bardaro, Seattle-based lead economist and director of analytics at PayScale.

For instance, 65 per cent of HR assistants with CHRPs received a promotion within five years, compared to 33 per cent of HR assistants without the designation (a difference of 32 per cent). In comparison, 14 per cent of HR directors with the designation received a promotion versus 16 per cent of directors without it — a much less significant gap.

The CHRP makes more of a difference in the earlier stages of a career because at the higher levels, there are many different factors that influence pay scale progression, said Bardaro.

“As you move up the career ladder, there are other things that (contribute) to your pay more so than certifications, so the company size you’re working at, the industry you’re working in (and) what sort of managerial responsibilities you have tend to contribute to a pay difference more.”

The CHRP can set a practitioner apart at the beginning of her career because it is increasingly necessary to build on the foundation a degree provides, said Bardaro.

“As more and more people are moving into the white-collar workforce, they need to do something other than just getting a degree to set themselves apart in the labour market.”

Versatile value

As a career advancement tool, the CHRP adds significant value no matter where you are in Canada. An analysis of major metropolitan areas across the country found median salaries were consistently higher for those who have the designation.

Seventy-three per cent of those in senior HR management positions in Alberta have the CHRP, said Alykhan Bandali, chair of the Human Resources Institute of Alberta (HRIA) in Calgary.

The top five industries where the designation makes the most difference in terms of pay are construction, finance and insurance, mining, quarrying, oil and gas, professional scientific and technology services, and utilities, found the study.

The CHRP is receiving growing recognition in the business community, said Christian Codrington, senior manager of professional practice at the BC Human Resources Management Association (HRMA) in Vancouver.

“The CHRP is a relatively young designation,” he said. “It’s only been around less than 20 years… but I think the increase in employers (wanting CHRP certifications) is because people are recognizing its reputation and its credibility… it demonstrates to potential employers that their candidate or their employee has got a proven broad knowledge base.”

But that is only part of what makes the CHRP worth more to employers. The ethical commitment it requires is what really makes the designation so valuable, said Bandali.

“Although there is a monetary value in having it, as well as the prestige of having accomplished it, there is the value to the public to consider,” he said.

“Organizations can expect these HR professionals to be committed to the ethics of the profession as well as the knowledge of the law. CHRPs should be committed to protecting both the employee and the organization. A great CHRP is one (who) is willing to put their job on the line to bring that value to their organization as well as to themselves.”

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