Tenure impacts support for experience requisite (Analysis)

Those not yet working in HR less likely to be in favour of added requirement
By Claude Balthazard
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 05/03/2009

Many of the comments made on previous Pulse Surveys went something like this: “It just doesn’t make sense that someone just out of school can write the exams and get the designation without any experience in HR.”

So we decided to make that issue the topic of its own survey. With 3,165 respondents from across the country, it’s obviously a topic many HR professionals wanted to comment on.

More than three-quarters (77.7 per cent) of respondents were of the opinion HR associations should introduce an experience requirement for the Certified Human Resource Professional (CHRP) designation. Eight out of 10 (79.5 per cent) thought the introduction of an experience requirement would enhance the value of the designation. This is the clearest result we have seen so far in any survey.

The kind of experience requirement foreseen by respondents is in line with that seen in many other professions. The modal response was it should be somewhere between two and three years of HR experience. Of those who thought there should be an experience requirement, 53.7 per cent thought the HR experience should be of any kind whereas 38.4 per cent thought the HR experience should be at a professional level.

Of those who thought there should be an experience requirement, 38 per cent thought at least 50 per cent of a candidate’s time should be spent on HR activities whereas 30.4 per cent thought at least 80 per cent of a candidate’s time should be spent on HR activities.

There was some support for the idea of having candidates maintain a log during the experience requirement period, as 41.3 per cent agreed with this idea. Here, the undecided group, at 25.6 per cent, could swing matters one way or the other.

With results so one-sided, we were more interested in understanding who did not agree with the idea of an experience requirement and why.

Consider tenure’s impact on the proposal HR associations should add an experience requirement to the CHRP. Of those respondents who hadn’t yet joined the workforce, only 14.8 per cent agreed an experience requirement should be added. This jumped up dramatically to 54.3 per cent for those respondents with up to four years’ experience, 80.1 per cent for those with five to nine years’ experience, 88.9 per cent for those with 10 to 14 years’ experience and levels off at 89.5 per cent for those with more than 15 years’ experience in HR.

This pattern was also reflected in the comments. Many of the respondents who disagreed with the idea of an experience requirement were individuals who were still in school or just finishing school. Many of these individuals considered a potential experience requirement as an additional obstacle that would only make obtaining the CHRP designation even more difficult for them. Those respondents who would currently meet any likely experience requirement tended to see this kind of experience requirement as essential.

Almost nine out of 10 (87.5 per cent) of respondents with the CHRP designation agreed with the introduction of an experience requirement, while 75.5 per cent of respondents with some other HR designation, 69.1 per cent of respondents with a non-HR designation and 64.9 per cent of respondents who do not hold a professional designation agreed with the introduction of an experience requirement.

It would appear that pattern also reflects whether the respondent would likely be impacted by the introduction of an experience requirement. Those who already have their CHRP don’t need to worry and thus overwhelmingly endorse the idea of adding an experience requirement.

It would be interesting to go back to those respondents who have not yet joined the workforce in, say, five years’ time to ask them what they think of an experience requirement. Presumably, many of these respondents would have obtained the CHRP designation by then. Based on the survey results, one would expect these individuals would have changed their minds about the possibility of an experience requirement.

Claude Balthazard is director of HR excellence and acting registrar of the Human Resources Professionals Association in Toronto. He can be reached at cbalthazard@hrpa.ca.

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