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Career Management – A Key Initiative for IT Organisations

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With the scarcity of IT skills across all career streams, one of the most important things that IT organisations can do today is put in place a well-constructed and coherent Career Path with well-managed Career Management supporting the Career Path.

Career Management is one of the fastest growing areas in business development.  The reason is, because a well-constructed and coherent Career Path supported by strong Career Management in organisations has the ability to impact positively in many areas of business – including the BOTTOM LINE!

Well-Constructed and Coherent Career Paths

Let us look more closely at this.  What is a Career Path, and what do we mean by well-constructed and coherent.

A Career Path, or Career Ladder, refers to how an employee is able to grow in the organisation.  It refers to the different positions available through growth and development in the organisation, and includes both vertical and lateral, or cross-functional, growth opportunities.

By well-constructed and coherent, we mean that the Career Path must be logical – in terms of capability development and responsibilities at the different levels of the Career Path.

Most organisations use some form of Job Evaluation System, such as Paterson, Peromnes, etc.  Sadly they only use it for Remuneration purposes and don’t think about using it for Career Pathing.  From our experience, a good “broadbanding” system can be used very effectively to create a coherent framework for Career Pathing and Career Management in organisations.  And this, in turn articulates well into the remuneration spectrum as Competencies and Responsibilities grow through the Career Path.

The proviso is, the “rungs” on the Career Ladder need to be consistent and equi-distant.  There can’t be too much space between the rungs.  Imagine trying to climb a real ladder where the rungs are not consistently placed.  The same applies to growing people through a career.  People need to see and feel progress on a regular, consistent basis.  In IT, this is 2 to 3 years.

Career vs Organisational Levels

Too often management confuse Career requirements with Organisational Levels.  They are different, and need to be defined separately.  The Organisation Chart shows the Organisational Levels and reporting levels.  But it does not and cannot show the Career Path levels.  For this reason the organisation needs to also have a Career Development Roadmap™ that defines the Career Paths available in the organisation.

The diagram on the left shows Career Levels (based on Paterson Broadband) on the left, and the equivalent Organisational Levels, for both Management and Technical Career Streams, on the right.

So it is possible for any organisation to minimise the number of Organisational Levels, while at the same time, optimise the number of levels needed to grow skills and competencies in the organisation.

At TalentAlign we have found the Paterson Broadband to be the most useful tool for defining a Career Path, especially for IT careers.

People in IT expect to grow every 2 to 3 years at the lower levels, and at the higher levels, every 3 to 5 years.  A 5-level, or even a 7-level, Organisational Structure just does not lend itself to the progression that IT talent, especially really good IT talent, expects.  The 12-level Career Development Roadmap™ is much more conducive to growing and retaining your good IT talent.

Organisationally, while maintaining a consistent and coherent Career Structure, it is possible to span Organisational Levels across a range of Career Levels, without losing the integrity of either.

How does Career Management Benefit Organisations?

Defining your Career Paths and Career Management take time, effort and money.  So, ultimately, there needs to be some Return on this Investment in order for it to be viable in organisations.

So the question is, how and where do we use Career Pathing and Career Management in organisations?

Career Management is about managing the skills and competencies of employees up and through the organisation.  So one of the main benefits is – Employee Retention.  By growing people consistently and providing the stretch goals through Career Pathing enables the organisation to both grow the skills needed for the present and the future, and provides a mechanism to ensure that the top talent attracted into the organisation remains there for the longest possible time.

Source: HCMI

Career Management also creates considerable savings to the organisation with a positive impact on the Bottom Line.

The graph on the right shows the significant saving experienced from developing Customer Support staff internally rather than hiring from outside the organisation.

These saving are experienced right from the start and, in and of themselves, justify the cost of Career Management.

The other area that has a positive spin-off from Career Management is Performance Management.  Not only is Competence defined in a well-structured and coherent Career Path system, but the ability to assess competence against a defined standard, means that you have a fair system for promotion through the career levels and, as and where necessary, through organisational levels.

And finally, Learning and Development that is guided by well-defined and coherent Career Paths leads to a high Return on Investment in Training and Coaching programs, while, at the same time, ensuring that the Development Curriculum itself is geared up to the development requirements needed by the organisation for present and future success.


Career Management today is not a “nice to have” element of Human Capital Management it is a “MUST HAVE” element, creating positive impact on:

  • Employee Retention
  • Bottom Line Savings
  • Performance Management, and
  • Learning and Development.

Career Management with TalentAlign

At TalentAlign we have created a “lego kit” for building an effective, well-structured and coherent Career Management process, with all the elements needed to implement as quickly as possible so that you start to realise a return on investment in the shortest possible time.

To find out more about how we at TalentAlign can help you to build and implement a well-structured and coherent Career Management systems, give us a call.