Making The Case For Credentials

Survey Reveals Majority of Companies Cover Professional Certification Costs

MENLO PARK, Calif., Aug. 2, 2016 -- Most workers today are getting support from their employer to grow their skill set, according to recent research from staffing firm Robert Half. A majority of CFOs interviewed (72 percent) said their company covers some or all of the cost for staff to obtain professional certifications, and 76 percent said their organization helps in maintaining credentials once earned. Still, nearly one-third of respondents (29 percent) said their organization offers no financial support for employees' continuing education.

Making the Case for Credentials

"Keeping your skills up to date is vital to career advancement, and acquiring a general or industry-specific certification is one way to do so," said Paul McDonald, senior executive director at Robert Half. "Employers often support ongoing development because they benefit from well-educated, highly skilled professionals who are current with trends and able to apply what they've learned to business needs."

McDonald added, "If you are hesitant to ask your company to cover certification costs, do your research and outline the advantages of the training. Since you're not the only beneficiary, consider which one will give you and your company the best return on investment when deciding between a few certifications."

View an infographic of the survey findings.

CFOs were asked, "How, if at all, does your company support its employees in their efforts to receive professional certifications?" Their responses:

Full support – the company pays all educational costs


Partial support – the company pays some educational costs


No support at all




*Responses do not equal 100 percent due to rounding.

CFOs were also asked, "How, if at all, does your company support its employees in their efforts to maintain professional certifications?" Their responses:

Full support – the company pays all educational costs


Partial support – the company pays some educational costs


No support at all




Robert Half offers five tips for getting company support to acquire professional certifications:

  1. Make a business case. Devise a plan before you approach your boss. Describe how the certification will allow you to make greater contributions to the company. Consider, too, that some professional certifications have a stronger return on investment than others.
  2. Cite immediate benefits. Show examples of how the certification will help improve productivity, bring additional revenue or allow you to take on additional responsibilities.  
  3. Prepare for the future. Explain to your manager how your training will develop you for leadership positions. Most CFOs realize the importance of succession planning, and they're looking for rising stars who may be able to fill the pipeline.  
  4. Share the wealth. Let your boss know that an investment in your education can strengthen the entire organization. Offer to share the information learned or mentor colleagues to extend the value of your added expertise.
  5. Divide the cost. If your manager denies your request, don't give up. Are you willing to cover part of the fees for your professional certification? If not, revisit the conversation in a few months if you sense your boss may be more open to it in the future.  

About the Research

The survey was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on telephone interviews with more than 2,200 CFOs from a stratified random sample of companies in more than 20 of the largest U.S. metropolitan areas.

About Robert Half

Founded in 1948, Robert Half is the world's first and largest specialized staffing firm. The company has more than 325 staffing locations worldwide and offers online job search services on its divisional websites, all of which can be accessed at For career and hiring advice, visit the Robert Half Blog at

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For further information: Bianca De Rose, (650) 234-6022,

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