Building a slide deck, pitch, or presentation? Here are the big takeaways:

  • 56% of IT certification exams are paid for by employers, up 6% from a year ago. — Pearson VUE, 2018
  • 22.6% of professionals surveyed moved into a career in IT from another field after obtaining a certification. — Pearson VUE, 2018

Employers are upping their financial investment in their IT staff, spending more on professional IT certification exams for their employees. According to survey of 29,000 IT pros by testing company Pearson VUE, 56% of the certifications received in the last year were paid for by the employer.

It’s no secret that tech talent is hard to come by. A 2017 TechRepublic CIO Jury report found that 83% of CIOs struggle to find those with the right tech skill sets. By increasing in-house training efforts and covering expenses related to certification exams, employers can get the tech skills they need without having to fight to hire more talent.

The last time that Pearson VUE conducted the survey, only about 50% of exam fees were covered by employers, showing a marked increase this time around. That doesn’t mean that every test-taker got off easy, though–30.5% of certification exams were paid for by the test takers themselves.

SEE: IT Training Policy (Tech Pro Research)

While it should be noted that Pearson VUE offers the kinds of certifications mentioned in its report, the survey noted that the tests did provide benefits to those who took them. Some 64.9% who took a certification exam said it positively impacted their professional reputation. Additionally, 22.6% said it allowed them to move into an IT career, and 17.7% used the certification to get a salary increase, the report said.

“Our research indicates that employers recognize that investing in training and certification has substantial benefits for their staff and their business,” Bob Whelan, president of Pearson Assessments, said in a press release.

Many of the test takers had prepared beforehand. Of those surveyed, 81% had taken a training course for an exam in the past year. The most popular certification programs were for the following companies:

  • Microsoft – 23.4%
  • Cisco – 21.4%
  • VMware – 11.2 %
  • Oracle – 8.3%
  • CompTIA – 8.3%
  • IBM – 6.9%
  • HPE – 5.2%
  • Dell EMC – 3.9 5
  • Juniper – 2.9%
  • Linux Professional Institute (LPI) – 2.7%

“More than half of employees (54 percent) experienced their first benefit from certification very quickly, within the first three months, which could explain why 88 percent are likely to take a further certification in the next 12 months,” Whelan said in the release.

For IT professionals who may be looking to pursue a certification, but don’t know where to start, check out this list of five IT certifications that will increase your salary.