Research Shows Growing Employer Support for Competency Frameworks, Talent Analytics, and Skills-Based Hiring

A new report sponsored by the 1EdTech Foundation and IMS Global Consortium as part of the Wellspring Initiative presents data on employers' readiness to use standards-based digital skills frameworks and credentials for talent management


LAKE MARY, Florida, 14 December 2021 — IMS Global Consortium, the leading non-profit edtech innovation collaboration, and its affiliate charitable organization, the 1EdTech Foundation, announced today the availability of a new research report that benchmarks and guides future strategies for adopting digital credentials and competency frameworks in corporate hiring and talent development practices. This data is critical in today's job market, where employers struggle to find high-quality candidates.

The study, led by Northeastern University's Center for the Future of Higher Education and Talent Strategy, synthesizes data from 750 talent leaders across a full range of U.S. industry sectors and organizational sizes. The report shows that employers believe industry-led external competency frameworks can help create a more fluid market for talent in their industry. Increasingly, organizations rely on analytics and skills-based hiring, believing they will lead to more equitable results in recruiting and hiring. While most human resource management systems already use some form of job role competency banks, digital credentials are steadily gaining recognition. Employers view digital credentials as an opportunity to evaluate skills and specialized knowledge with built-in evidence.

Notable results from those surveyed include:

  • 73% of employers are using talent analytics in some way to improve hiring

  • 69% of employers support industry-led competency frameworks

  • 87% of HR leaders report having heard of digital badges, with almost half (48%) noting they have encountered badges in screening candidates or hired a badge holder

  • 34% of HR leaders indicated their organization uses hiring strategies with a lens on competencies over college degrees

  • 42% of respondents say their organization is exploring and considering skills and competency-based hiring approaches

The research was conducted as a part of Wellspring, a multi-year initiative by the 1EdTech Foundation and IMS Global to accelerate the adoption of an open technology standards-based education-to-employment ecosystem. The Charles Koch Foundation and the Walmart Foundation provide financial support for the Wellspring Initiative.


"Standards-based digital credentials offer a solution for improving employer talent management strategies," said Dr. Rob Abel, president of 1EdTech Foundation and CEO of IMS Global Consortium. "This research, a key project in the larger Wellspring Initiative, provides market intelligence on employers' understanding and readiness for using digital credentials and competency frameworks in corporate recruiting, hiring, and workforce development."

Learn more about the Wellspring Initiative and how to get involved.


About 1EdTech Foundation
1EdTech Foundation facilitates cooperative investment, catalyzing a connected ecosystem of innovative educational products and digital credentials that accelerate teaching and learning innovation, enabling every individual to achieve without limits.


About IMS Global Consortium
IMS Global Consortium is a non-profit partnership of leading educational institutions at all levels, government organizations, and edtech suppliers that enable better digital teaching and learning by collaborating on interoperability and adoption initiatives. Together, we are committed to achieving an open and inclusive education technology ecosystem that powers learner potential. IMS hosts the annual Learning Impact conference and other engagement opportunities throughout the year to recognize the impact edtech innovation has on access, affordability, and scalability while advancing the leadership and ideas to shape our future. View the interactive IMS Global Annual Report for more information.