In research conducted by both certification providers and independent entities (e.g., Purchasing Magazine’s annual salary survey), it is clear: on average, purchasing professionals with certifications earn more. Plain and simple.

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Yet, the percentage of purchasing professionals who have earned a certification is nowhere near 100%. I’ve seen posts on sites like LinkedIn where the non-certified criticize something about a certification provider or rant about something ideological how experience is more valuable or state some other reason why it isn’t worth it to be certified. I know I’m not the only one who recognizes these as nothing more than thinly veiled excuses for not having the drive to achieve a goal.

I’ve pondered this in light of my work interacting with certification candidates and I’ve come up with a hypothesis. My hypothesis is that it is actually the fear of failure that keeps these individuals from achievement.

I speak to a lot of people before taking their SPSM Exams and they tell me how nervous they are. Why? It’s an exam. It has never killed anyone.

The worst that can happen? You fail and have to try it again. It will cost you a mere $75 to do so.

Let me share some more information that has led me to believe that fear of failure is a culprit. Here at Next Level Purchasing, one of our key performance indicators is the number of SPSM’s to be certified in a given year.

Like all good goal-setting, we then break down our strategic goal into more tactical goals, like the percentage of students that take the SPSM Exam within three months of passing the six courses of the Senior Professional in Supply Management® Program, the percentage of students that submit their applications within three months of passing the SPSM Exam, etc.

What we’ve found is that only about 80% of students that pass the six courses take the SPSM Exam within three months of doing so. This is despite the fact that the pass rate drops dramatically when students wait more than a month (the longer you wait, the more you forget). They’ve expended all the effort required to pass six courses (about 44 hours of study) and won’t take the step to take a 90-minute exam. I attribute this 80% rate to fear of failure.

The shame is that it is costing these students earning opportunities. Purchasing Magazine’s research indicates that SPSM’s earn over $10,000 more than purchasing professionals without a certifiation. Our own research suggests that number is over $14,000.

All because of fear of failure. It’s a shame, isn’t it?

When it comes to scheduling a certification exam, just do it. You just may pass on the first attempt and have a credential that will increase your earnings potential.

An extra $10,000 per year seems worth it, don’t you think?

Categories: Procurement


Published On: December 21st, 2009Comments Off on Is Fear of Failure Causing Purchasing Professionals To Limit Their Income?
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