Career Path

Career paths have become more than just a linear progression within a company. They are strategic roadmaps that not only benefit employees in their professional growth but also serve as essential frameworks for organisational success. 

What is a Career Path?

A career path is a structured plan outlining the sequence of job positions, roles, and responsibilities that an individual progresses through within an organisation or industry over time. It encompasses the various steps and milestones that individuals aim to achieve to advance their careers.

What are the Types of Career Paths?

Depending on the opportunities and goals, a career path can be vertical or horizontal. 

Vertical Career Path

Vertical career paths involve upward movement within a single field or discipline. Employees progress from entry-level positions to higher-ranking roles with increased responsibilities, authority, and often, compensation. 

Examples of vertical career paths include:

  • Junior Analyst → Senior Analyst → Manager → Director
  • Staff Nurse → Charge Nurse → Nurse Supervisor → Nurse Manager

Horizontal Career Path

Horizontal career paths focus on acquiring diverse skills and experiences across different roles or departments within an organisation. Instead of climbing the traditional corporate ladder, individuals broaden their expertise and knowledge base by exploring various functions or specialties. 

Examples of horizontal career paths include:

  • Marketing Specialist → Project Manager → Human Resources Generalist
  • Software Engineer → UX Designer → Product Manager

How Do Employers Make a Career Path Framework For Their Employees?

Creating an effective career path framework involves strategic planning, collaboration between employees and management, and alignment with organisational goals. Here are steps employers can take to develop robust career paths for their workforce:

Conduct Skills Assessment

Identify the core competencies and skills required for each role within the organisation. Evaluate employees' current skills and competencies through assessments, performance reviews, and feedback mechanisms.

Define Career Tracks

Establish clear pathways for career progression, both vertically and horizontally. Define the key milestones, qualifications, and experiences needed to advance within each track.

Provide Development Opportunities

Offer training programs, workshops, mentorship, and coaching to help employees address skills gap and acquire knowledge necessary for advancement. Encourage continuous learning and development to support career growth.

Encourage Career Conversations

Foster open communication between employees and managers regarding career aspirations, goals, and interests. Regularly schedule career development discussions to assess progress, provide feedback, and explore opportunities for advancement.

Offer Job Rotation and Mobility

Facilitate job rotation programs that allow employees to gain exposure to different roles or departments within the organisation. Encourage mobility by providing opportunities for internal transfers or promotions based on merit and performance.

Align with Organisational Needs

Ensure that career paths align with the organisation's strategic objectives and talent management initiatives. Identify critical roles to prioritise development efforts and succession planning.

Monitor and Evaluate Progress

Continuously track employees' progress along their career paths. Monitor performance, milestones achieved, and feedback to identify areas for improvement and adjustment in the career path framework.

Adapt to Changing Needs

Regularly review and update career paths to adapt to changing business needs, industry trends, and evolving job roles. Stay agile and responsive to ensure that career paths remain relevant and impactful for employees.

Investing in robust career path frameworks not only support the professional growth and development of employees but also cultivate a skilled and motivated workforce. A well-defined career path can enhance employee engagement, retention, and organisational performance, ultimately contributing to long-term success.

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