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By Sinakho Dhlamini, HR Content Specialist, Top Employers Institute
By Sinakho Dhlamini, HR Content Specialist, Top Employers Institute

Top Employers Certification Perception Report 2022



In late 2021, Top Employers Institute undertook a research survey into the impact that Top Employers Certification had on the perception of an organisation. We wanted to look at how attitudes held by talented potential employees were affected by certification. To do this research we conducted quantitative research that sought to gather insights into whether the perception of an organisation is impacted by its Top Employers Certification from potential employees.

By doing this research across several countries/regions globally we discovered what people understood about HR certifications and the perceived value of these certifications. While doing this we remained focused on the perceived value of the Top Employers Institute Certification Programme.

Who have we asked?

We conducted quantitative research using online interviews with 1400 highly educated employees with, at least, a university degree or degree in applied sciences. The respondents were between the ages of 21 and 55, from fourteen different countries including Mexico, Singapore, India, China, Turkey, UK, France, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Germany, South Africa, Netherlands, and the USA.

50% of the respondents were men and 50% of respondents were women. They were currently specialised in a variety of specialisms, including technology, healthcare, education, general management, and legal professions among others.

What we found – Key Findings

  • Across the globe, the relevance of HR/Employee related certifications is something that is highly sought out by higher educated employees when applying for new jobs. The majority (74%) of these people said that they look out for these certifications when job searching.
  • 32% of respondents said that they were aware of the Top Employers Institute as a certification body in HR and people practices.
  • The value of the Top Employers Institute certification programme was seen as valuable for a future employer by 77% of respondents.

Awareness and Relevance of Certifications

As we began our research, we challenged respondents initially with their awareness of certifications in general. We asked them:

  • Are you familiar with certifications organisations can receive based on the standard of their Human Resources policies or employee conditions?
  • Are certifications for Human Resource policies or employee conditions something that you (would) look for when you (would) consider an organisation for a future job?

We found that while just around half (53%) of highly skilled were aware of certification organisations for HR policies, many of them (74%) would look for certification when considering another organisation.

Awareness and Value of Top Employers Certification

As we sought out more specific data around the perception of the Top Employers Certification, we asked our respondents to answer questions, like:

  • Have you heard of Top Employers Institute as a certification body in Human Resources and People Practices?
  • Please take a minute to look at the Top Employer Institute certification. How valuable do you rate the Top Employers Institute Certification for an organisation as a potential future employer?

The results that we found that 32% of the respondents said they were aware of Top Employers Institute as a certification body in HR and people practices. In the data, we noticed that there were large differences between countries: in India, China, and South Africa awareness was much higher, as it is with the new generation of talent coming through.

77% of respondents see certification for a future employer as valuable or more, with 36% of respondents rating the Top Employers certification as ‘very valuable’ and 41% as ‘valuable’ when considering a job at another organisation.

When the data is broken down, it becomes obvious that certification makes a big difference to the image of an organisation across the spectrum of employee expectations and interests.

The Impact of the Top Employers Certification

The research showed us that the Top Employers Certification has a huge positive impact on the perception of an employer. 80% of respondents state that they have a much more positive perception of an organisation as a potential employer if they have the certification. This is reflected in all relevant criteria for a potential new employer, including positive work culture, career development, salaries & rewards, diversity & inclusion, as well as in other areas.

For the young professionals (21-24 years old) and those in India, China, South Africa, Mexico and Turkey, the impact of the certification on the perception of an organisation is more significant than average.

Methodology and More About the Top Employers Institute Certification

For this research, Top Employers Institute interviewed 1400 employees globally in October and November 2021. Respondents were between the ages of 21 and 55 years of age, with high levels of education (with a university degree or a degree in applied sciences).

To be certified as a Top Employer highlights an organisation’s dedication to a better world of work, demonstrated through excellent HR policies and people practices.

The Top Employers Institute programme certifies organisations based on the participation and results of their HR Best Practices Survey. This survey covers 6 HR domains consisting of twenty topics such as People Strategy, Work Environment, Talent Acquisition, Learning, Well-being, Diversity & Inclusion and others.

The current programme has certified and recognised 1857 Top Employers in countries and regions across five continents. Organisations that receive the Top Employers Certification can display the certification seal in their communications, amongst many other benefits.

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