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Career Pathing | Meaning, Importance, Kinds and Examples

Last Updated : 05 Oct, 2023
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Permanent change has taken place in the labour market, favouring employees. In the current competitive job market, more than merely providing a satisfactory work environment is required to attract and retain talented employees. Businesses must enable employees to assume responsibility for their work environment. This can be achieved by providing customised career paths that correspond to each employee’s professional goals and complement the business objectives. In doing so, corporations can attract the most qualified staff and enhance retention rates. Moreover, a personalised career path can increase job satisfaction as employees invest in their professional development.

Career Pathing


What is Career Pathing?

Career Pathing refers to a comprehensive, organised, and goal-oriented development program for the workforce that will help them reach their full potential as workforce members.

The plan evaluates the employee’s background, objectives, capabilities, and limitations for each new position so that they can be prepared accordingly. In simpler terms, it helps individuals prepare for their careers by identifying and pursuing both horizontal and vertical developmental opportunities. After receiving the necessary training, these workers can take on bigger roles and responsibilities to foster growth and involvement across many departments.

Career pathing provides a broader perspective than the traditional career ladder, which simply, lays out “rungs” or levels for climbing. In addition to promotions, a thorough career path may also include job rotations, lateral movements, and training programs that are intended to help staff members develop particular abilities. Employees who perceive a route for growth inside their company are not only less likely to quit but also more likely to constantly put up their best efforts. Thus, to boost engagement, clear performance benchmarks and advancement possibilities are essential.

Importance of Career Paths

Employees can identify internal opportunities based on their interests, preferences, competence, and experience if career pathing models are well-designed and performed. This will not only help the team but also the human resources and the organisation.

1. Retention of Personnel:

High-performing employees often leave their existing positions due to a lack of prospects for advancement. It would be impossible for employees to acquire new skills and take on new responsibilities in smaller businesses. As a result, giving career training opportunities regularly can help enhance a company’s retention rate.

Today employees of a company are largely made up of millennials, who are hungry to learn and succeed. As previously noted, the professional path offers individuals opportunities to get there and provides insight into their chances for progress. If all of this is done properly, it will considerably help with reduced absenteeism, positive client and customer relations, reduced employee theft, and a low turnover rate.

2. Employee Involvement:

As employees constantly search for better pay and opportunities for professional and personal growth, an HR professional works to keep them engaged in the company. Companies can conduct appraisals to evaluate employee engagement and provide present and future employees opportunities for development in terms of growth, competencies, gaps, and resources to fill them. Employees perform accordingly because they are aware of where they stand in terms of career growth.

3. Keeps the Workforce Youthful:

Employees of the younger age are more motivated to advance themselves, select a valuable career, and earn more money than those of the older generation. Therefore, businesses can retain them on hand to keep on recharging the team with new concepts, tenacity, and inventive techniques to achieve their business goals. They can pursue interests related to transition in a supportive work environment if employers treat them fairly.

4. Succession Planning:

To close the gap between the company’s and employees’ career goals, the HR department engages in succession planning. Career pathing reduces and gives essential resources to prepare for the future by identifying capabilities and training possibilities. The knowledge prevents several employees from competing for the same position and attracts new hires.

5. Higher Return on Investment:

The management has to make significant effort, time, and money spent on finding and training new personnel. However, the more time an individual spends working for the firm, the more value they will add and the more growth the business will see altogether. Even while they might not always be with the employee, they will be provided with the knowledge to keep improving their work.

6. Increased Loyalty and Security:

Employees are attracted to careers that are stable, long-lasting, engaging, and constantly challenging. The HR team collaborates with the employer and employee to achieve shared business objectives while maintaining engagement and loyalty. Because of this, the employees pick a company above its competitors if it offers unbeatable career chances because they want to succeed in the long run.

Kinds of Career Pathing

In general, there are four different types of career paths: jobs, business, knowledge-based jobs, and skill-based jobs. The two primary career paths are employment; i.e., joining other businesses, and entrepreneurship, or running your own business. In addition, a job can be divided into two main categories: knowledge-oriented jobs and skill-oriented jobs. Following are the main categories of career paths:

1. Knowledge Professionals:

A career that requires knowledge, such as those in management, engineering, accounting, finance, and the law, belongs to the category that is knowledge-oriented. These are all examples of career paths that emphasise knowledge. When it comes to problem-solving, giving advice, or developing soft products (software), knowledge professionals are individuals who make a positive impact on the companies they serve through their expertise and accessibility.

For instance, Architects, Computer Scientists, Web Developers, Data Scientists, Management Consultants, IT Specialists, and Marketing Specialists.

2. Skilled Professionals:

The professions that emphasise skills come next on the list of career paths. These are more physically demanding skills including mechanics, welding, plumbing, and labour. Careers that are skill-related need to be hands-on, offer a service or physical product and are often paid hourly. They require a certain skill and can be compensated as freelance work or on a job-by-job basis for odd jobs.

For instance, Chefs, Sportsmen, Repair Workers, Gardeners, Carpenters or Plumbers, Artists, Performers and Workers in construction.

In addition, skills and knowledge are interlinked. Several jobs or career paths require both ability and knowledge. For instance, it is questionable whether coding is a skill-based or knowledge-based career path. However, in general, positions requiring physical labour are classified as skill-oriented jobs; whereas, the others are knowledge-oriented jobs. Even more practical jobs like plumbing and welding still require some knowledge. Following are some instances of occupations that use knowledge and skills almost equally; Lawyers, Salesmen, and Interior designers.

3. Entrepreneurship or Business:

The following job paths include running your own company, becoming your boss, or starting your venture or business. A business is something that provides value to the customer using trading or the sale of a new good or service. Hence, following this path, will require funding as well as the ability to produce a good or service to launch your business. Also, one will require a broad range of abilities, such as the ability to build a customer or supply chain or to hire diverse people who will make up the team. There are several types of entrepreneurship, including starting a small business and purchasing products to resell with added value. Entrepreneurs usually combine their expertise and abilities to grow their businesses.

For instance, in Shark Tank, different entrepreneurs with unique ideas and the ability to bring some change are encouraged and financed. The entrepreneur who has complete knowledge of the industry and has uniqueness in the product gets the funding. With this, they can become their own boss and provide employment to people.

4. Self-employed Freelancers:

Selling a service or a skill is an additional type of business. In this career path, one has foundational knowledge of this but gains independence as a freelancer. To become a freelancer, the person must not be employed by an organisation. These professionals include chartered accountants, photographers, web developers, and artists. In essence, anyone who is self-employed and not bound to an organisation is considered a freelancer.

For instance, in GeeksforGeeks several independent content writers are hired to write articles in different fields. The content writers can write at their convenience and submit their articles. Thus, it includes using their foundation knowledge to write an article.

Examples of Career Pathing

Example of Career Pathing


An example of a possible career path for an employee in human resources is shown in the above diagram. An individual can advance in his career from the position of HR Assistant to that of HR Specialist, then Assistant Director of HR, and ultimately Director of HR. The positions in the future would depend on the career path he/she chooses today.

Example of Career Pathing

An example of a possible career path for an employee in marketing is shown in the above diagram. An individual can advance in his career from the position of Public Relations Assistant to Public Relations Representative, then Assistant Director of PR, and ultimately Director of Communications.

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