Credentials Matter: Few K-12 Credentials Aligned with What Employers Want | Burning Glass Technologies

The nation’s job credentials are still largely out of alignment with what employers want, according to a new report from Burning Glass Technologies and ExcelinEd.

This is the second round of the Credentials Matter report, first conducted last year, to examine whether the credentials students gain in K-12 education have value in the job market.

Roughly 3 million students graduate from high school every year. But the research isn’t focused on the high school diploma. Instead, the study examines the certificates, licenses, and other non-degree credentials that many students earn as part of their curricula, many having earned specific job credentials along with their diploma. Those credentials are supposed to help graduates in the job market—but how do they line up with what the market actually wants?

In fact, only 18% of those credentials are actually in demand by employers, and no state has its credential system “highly aligned” with the job market, the report found.

There have been some improvements since last year, however: for example, more states collect data on how their credentials are aligned with the market. Still, 17 states continue to have no data to tell whether their systems are in alignment or not.

28 states collect quantitative data on the attainment of credentials in K-12.33 states now collect this data.
States have no consistent standard on what constitutes an industry recognized credential.No change
Many credentials are not explicitly requested in employer job listings, even though the credentials may be required or desired for the position.No change
No states is “highly aligned” in terms of supply for credentials earned by high school students and the demand for those credentials in the job market.No change
Only 19% of the credentials earned by K-12 students in this analysis are demanded by U.S. employers. 18% of the credentials earned by K-12 students are demanded by U.S. employers.

Or to look at it another way, only three of the top 10 credentials earned by K-12 students are also among the top 10 in demand by employers.

Credentials Matter

You can examine state-by-state results and download the full report at the Credentials Matter website.