Portland State University will offer a new course of study this fall for the budding human capital management professional: an HR Analytics Graduate Certificate program.

Offered through the university’s school of business, the new certification is aimed at HR professionals and students looking for “knowledge of HR analytics through hands-on learning and application,” according to the school’s website.

The online certification is a 9-month, 18 credit course.

PSU’s decision to offer this certification shows the importance of data analytics in HR.

“Organizations that do HR analytics well have a big advantage over those not doing anything to move forward in this space,” says Talya Bauer, a professor of management at the school. “Every organization we've spoken to or worked with is at a different part of the HR analytics journey, but working through the issues can lead to some pretty significant gains for organizations and HR in specific."

Research indicates the same. According to Deloitte research out this year, 85% of U.S. companies rated HR analytics as “important” or “very important.” Nearly three-quarters of companies (70%) said they are actively working toward integrating HR analytics into their decision making. And nearly half — 42% — of companies rated themselves as ready or very ready for the HR analytics trend.

PSU's courses include “Introduction to HR and Asking HR Questions” (fall session); “HR Tools and Applications and HR Metrics and Analytics in Daily Operations” (winter session); and “HR Analytics Capstone and HR Data Visualization and Storytelling” (spring session).

“The boot camp is a series of undergraduate-level video modules and assessments designed to prepare students with industry vernacular and knowledge in HR management and statistics,” according to the school’s curriculum description.

Tuition and fees total $13,869 for Washington state residents and $16,407 for out-of-state students.

Employers face a challenge in finding candidates with data analytics skills, but the certification program helps “close that skills gap," says David Caughlin, a professor at the program. "The program provides HR professionals with an opportunity to build their competence in data acquisition, management, analysis, visualization, interpretation and storytelling.”

He adds that each course in the certification emphasizes important ethical and legal considerations in HR analytics.

American University offers a master’s in human resource analytics and management, as do Cornell University, UC Berkeley and UC San Diego.

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