About This Blog

A QualitEvolution is intended to capture positions and experiences as a participant in the evolution of the Quality profession into the 21st century. From its origins as the brainchild of Corporate Industrial Statisticians, our profession has transformed and evolved to incorporate and adapt to the demands and expectations of our modern existence.

The scope of the subject matter within A QualitEvolution extends to the furthest ranges of quality, business transformation, management science, and quality issues especially pertinent to the members of ASQ in Canada.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Comparison of Job Opportunities by ASQ Certification

I wanted to follow up on the validity of some claims regarding the relative demand for quality practitioners with ASQ credentials.  This is a snapshot of mid-August in Canada, operating in an economy challenged by low commodity prices, increased unemployment, and rising expenses.

This is a summary and comparison of different ASQ and Quality Credentials, and the relative demand for each.
Indeed is an aggregator site which shows job openings by keyword and location.  I have found this to be a reliable and relevant indicator of hiring activity.
In this summary, I am simply comparing the outcomes of the different search results.  I don't have particular insights why a particular skill set is in demand while others are out of favor within their respective communities.  This also does not separate particular job descriptions which may be repeated because multiple certifications are referenced.
To summarize, I have categorized these into 3 groups: Six Sigma, ASQ-Core, and ASQ-Niche.  The ASQ-Core certifications are the three most popular: CQE, CQA, and CMQ/OE.  The ASQ-Niche reflect options which are more specialized including CSQE for Software, and Lean Bronze (from a partnership with SME.  To summarize the results below:

- Six Sigma is by far the strongest and most widely requested quality credential, with the highest salary ranges. GET YOUR ASQ SIX SIGMA BELTS TO BE ELIGIBLE FOR JOB OPPORTUNITIES!!!
- ASQ-Core certifications like CQE and CQA have some demand but at a lower wage band than Six Sigma.  CMQ/OE has a minimal presence.   CORE ASQ CERTIFICATIONS NEED TO BE MORE EFFECTIVELY MARKETED IN CANADA!!!
- ASQ-Niche certifications have MINIMAL DEMAND IN CANADA
  • Lean Bronze demand is minimal with the lowest stature and salary levels
  • CSQE is requested only as part of an "all of the above" list of software credentials.
  • Neither the Lean Bronze nor CSQE are distinct differentiators, but are included among a plethora of certification options for qualification and consideration.  
One drawback of this search is that some certification acronyms were common with other references or company names.  For example Certified Reliability Engineer (CRE) had other meanings, returning disproportionately high results.
To offset regional disparities in industry and economic performance (particularly the unusual and sustained decline in resources and petroleum), the searches were made across Canada.  This would invoke the "Law of Large Numbers"

If you are looking for new positions, a Six Sigma Black Belt provides the most opportunities disbursed across the widest range. 
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A Six Sigma Green Belt is also widely demanded in Canada
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In British Columbia, entering Six Sigma will return a wide range of open roles across multiple salary levels.
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ASQ-Core certifications consist of CQE, CQA, and CMQ/OE
CQE roles are in demand, but the average salary levels are below those of Six Sigma professionals.
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CQA also has a presence, but the salary ranges are at or near the CQE median
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The CMQ/OE, which is a very progressive certification based on a diverse and thorough body of knowledge, is barely referenced.
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ASQ-NICHE Certifications
Lean Bronze job titles are Specialist/Advisor, which indicates a tactical role for novice or entry-level practitioners.

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Although Lean Bronze is referenced, it is not an exclusive differentiator.  In one Quality Improvement Advisor posting, the Lean Bronze is listed as one several credentials, and is shown as being equivalent to a Six Sigma Green Belt or any of the ASQ certifications.

Technical Requirements and Professional Designations:
Minimum: One of: 
Lean six sigma green belt, SME Bronze Lean certification, IHI Improvement Advisor certification, American Society of Quality (ASQ) certification,
This is reinforced by the more specific searches in BC and Alberta.  The demand for this particular credential has not resonated into the requirements for any open roles out west.


CSQE is the Software Quality credential, which should resonate with the growing technology organizations like Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, Google, and Oracle.  Unfortunately this credential is only demanded for software testing roles, and is not core to the hiring criteria.
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In one case, the CSQE was included among multiple credentials including the introductory CQIA, proving that the HR or Hiring Manager does not know the distinctions between the credentials.
Certification in one or more CAST, CMST, CSTE, CSTP, CTFL, CTAL, CMSQ , CSQA, CSQE, CQIA, CTAL-TA, CTAL-TTA, or equivalent.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

ASQ Canada - Proposals to Overcome Member Attrition in Canada

I wanted to raise for your attention the fact that in Region 4, there was a 15% overall drop in ASQ Membership numbers from month-to-month (see chart below comparing membership levels for June and July).   This seems excessive for a typical month-to-month change, and I wanted to explore the assignable causes for this significant decline.  The range of attrition by section was 8%-22%, and all ASQ Sections in Canada experienced a membership decline in the last month.  I would like to understand how this compares with overall ASQ trends between June and July 2016.  Even if the problems are not unique to Canada, the solutions proposed below can be applied to entrench and strengthen ASQ in Canada, and reverse this trend.


Analysis and Solutions


Since members do not leave abruptly but instead wait for their last expiry period, I think this relates to the non-renewals of the ASQ membership, plus a grace period for unpaid members.  Significant reductions in membership affect business planning, as membership levels, combined with participation rates, determine the estimates for attendance and capacity planning (i.e. banquet bookings, meeting room sizes).  


Today’s Canada-US exchange rate (0.76) makes the annual ASQ rate approximately $209 (a 27% increase over the last 3 years).   If this membership value is not recovered or recoverable by Canadian members, the attrition rates will continue and potentially increase.  Even if the new levels stabilize, we cannot sustain our membership or member units in Canada with 15-20% annual membership attrition rates.  This currency devaluation also affects the overall cost and participation rate of ASQ Certifications among ASQ Canada members, with the result that revenues and purchases of ASQ products and services will decrease overall in Canada.


I respectfully propose that ASQ consider adopting the following innovations to more effectively align to the expectations of the Canadian market, intended to reverse the evident member attrition:


-          Extend the capabilities of ASQ Customer Care to support ASQ members in Canada in both official languages (English and French), during core business hours (8AM-5PM) across all time zones (Newfoundland, Atlantic, Eastern, Central, Mountain, Pacific).


-          Offer French translations for ASQ Certifications (i.e. exams, training, webinars, and published material).


-          Price ASQ products and services at par for ASQ members based in Canada, with non-members paying the USD rates.  This at-par (i.e. ASQ membership is offered at $159 CAD) discount would incentivize Canadians to remain in ASQ and procure products and services.


-          Have ASQ HQ organize annual ASQ conference events with staff participation and support (similar to WCQI, Lean Six Sigma) in Canada.  This could be co-located with an ASQ BoD meeting or SAC/TCC training.  This would have the additional advantage of enabling ASQ to benefit from the 30% currency discount in Canada, relative to USA prices.


-          Allocate a proportionate ASQ infrastructure and staffing in Canada reflective of the membership.  Assuming a benchmark of 7.5%, this allocation could be devoted to Canada-based ASQ staff or staff specializing on unique Canadian concerns (i.e. tax planning for Revenue Canada not IRS, banking solutions with Canadian banks, etc.)


-          Allocate a minimum of 1 seat on the ASQ Board of Directors to a Canadian-based ASQ member.  If this is not already represented through SAC or TCC, then one of the Member At Large roles should be earmarked for a Canadian representative.


I know that these will not happen overnight.  My hope is that the necessary dialogues already started will continue and bear fruit.  I would like to build on the excellent discussions organized to reinforce the importance of the Canadian market to ASQ.