Everything you need to know about career development. Career development is essential to implement career plan. It is an activity of the organization considering the long term benefits and success of personnel and organizational effectiveness.
Career development consists of personnel improvement undertaken by the individual employee through the training, education and development programme arrange by the organization.
1. Meaning of Career Development 2. Concept of Career Development 3. Objectives 4. Phases 5. Actions
6. Elements 7. Stages 8. Practices Adopted by Some Organisations in Career Development 9. Theories 10. Advantages 11. Limitations.
What is Career Development: Meaning, Phases, Stages, Advantages, Limitations and a Few Others
- Meaning of Career Development
- Concept of Career Development
- Objectives of Career Development
- Phases of Career Development
- Actions of Career Development
- Elements of Career Development
- Stages of Career Development
- Practices Adopted by Some Organisations in Career Development
- Theories of Career Development
- Advantages of Career Development
- Limitations of Career Development
What is Career Development – Meaning
Career Development is essential for the implementation of career planning. It refers to a set of programmes designed to match an individual’s needs, abilities and goals with current or future opportunities in the organisation. It is the process through which the action plans are implemented. Developmental activities include all of the off-the-job and on-the-job training techniques.
One might engage in classroom training in-house or at universities, or opt for special job or task force assignments, or especially early in the career, job rotation. Lateral moves and promotions are more difficult to use for developmental purposes. Managers with vacancies have their own objectives to meet and may be reluctant to fill openings with candidates designated for career development, rather than with those who have the best skills to do the job.
It is essential that career development be fully integrated with internal staffing activities. Career development provides a supply of talents and abilities. Individuals must be committed to and accept responsibility for their career development.
1. Job Performance – Career progression largely depends on the job performance; the better the performance, the higher the chances of going up the corporate ladder.
2. Resignations – When an individual sees career opportunities elsewhere which are not available in the existing organisation, resignation may be the only alternative. When used sparingly, it results in promotion, salary increase and a new learning experience.
3. Mentors – Mentors can aid career development by sharing their knowledge and insights and wisdom to help junior managers.
4. Growth Opportunities – Individuals can expand their abilities by enrolling for training programmes, acquiring an additional degree, seeking new work assignments. When an opportunity arises in the organisation, employees with the required skills would be placed in that position.
What is Career Development – Concept
Activities like screening, training, and appraising serve two basic functions in an organization. First, their traditional function has been to staff the organization-to fill its open positions with employees who have the requisite interest, abilities and skills.
Increasingly, however, these activities are taking on a second role – that of insuring that the long-run interests of the employees are protected by the organization and that, in particular, the employee is encouraged to grow and realise his or her full potential. Referring to staffing or personnel management as human resource planning and development reflects this second role.
The basic, if implicit, assumption underlying the focus on human resource planning and development is, thus that the organization has an obligation to utilise its employees’ abilities to the fullest and to give every employee an opportunity to grow and to realise his or her full potential.
To some experts, this means that the organization has an obligation to improve the “quality of work life” of its employees – notice again though, that – quality of work life” refers not just to things like working conditions or pay but also to the extent to which each employee is able to utilise fully his or her abilities, engage in interesting jobs and obtain the training and guidance that allows- the person to move up to jobs that fully utilise his or her potential.
One way this trend is manifesting itself is in the increased emphasis many managers are placing on Career Planning and Development, an emphasis, in other words, on giving employees the assistance and opportunities that will enable them to form realistic career goals and realise, them.
Enabling employee to pursue expanded, more realistic career goals should be, many experts believe, the major aim of an organization’s personal system. By doing so, for the employees, satisfaction, personal development and quality of work life are the clearest benefit.
For the organization, increased productivity levels, creativity and long-range effectiveness may occur, since the organization would be staffed by a cadre of highly committed employees who are carefully trained and developed for their jobs.
What is Career Development – 7 Important Objectives
1. Fostering Better Communication in Organization:
The main objective of designing a career development system is to foster better communication within the organization as a whole. It promotes communication at all levels of organizations for example manager and employee and managers and top management. Proper communication is the lifeblood of any organization and helps in solving several big issues.
2. Assisting with Career Decisions:
A career development system provides employees as well as managers with helpful assistance with career decisions. They get an opportunity to assess their skills and competencies and know their goals and future aspirations. It helps them give a direction so that they can focus on achieving their long term career goals.
3. Better Use of Employee Skills:
A career development system helps organization in making better use of employee skills. Since managers know their skills and competencies they are put them at a job where they will be able to produce maximum output.
4. Setting Realistic Goals:
Setting realistic goals and expectations is another main objective of a career development system. It helps both employees and organization to understand what is feasible for them and how they can achieve their goals.
5. Creating a Pool of Talented Employees:
Creating a pool of talented employees is the main objective of organizations. After all, they need to meet their staffing needs in present and future and a career development system helps them fulfil their requirements.
6. Enhancing the Career Satisfaction:
Organizations especially design career development systems for enhancing the career satisfaction of their employees. Since they have to retain their valuable assets and prepare them for top notch positions in future, they need to understand their career requirements and expectations from their organization.
Giving feedback on every step is also required within an organization to measure the success rate of a specific policy implemented and initiatives taken by the organization. In addition to this, it also helps managers to give feedback for employees’ performance so that they can understand what is expected of them.
What is Career Development – 3 Distinct Phases According to Slavenski and Buckner: Staffing and Orientation, Evaluation and Development
Slavenski and Buckner (1988) have divided career development process into three distinct phases-
(1) Staffing and orientation,
(2) Evaluation and
Each of these phases is composed of strategies from which the employer may choose to create a customized career development system.
(1) Staffing and Orientation:
This phase is composed of providing career information to the job candidate (whether internal or external) and using selection techniques so as to match potential workers with the right job. The type of career information provided may include knowledge of jobs within the organization and possible career paths for the employee.
Selection techniques that are used to match employee and employment opportunity include assessment center exercises and job posting systems even for positions that are to be filled internally (a form of self-selection).
This phase is characterized by two important aspects, namely performance review and succession planning. The purpose of performance review, from a career development perspective, is to provide feedback to employees on their skills and knowledge, both to increase job satisfaction and to help them prepare for their next job. Succession planning links information from and about individual employees to the human resource needs of the organization.
During the developing phase, more visible career development strategies are employed. Tools used during this phase include career discussions between employee and supervisor, career resource centers, self- assessment and career counseling, and career planning workshops.
What is Career Development – Actions
(a) Job Performance:
Employee must prove that his performance on the job is to the level of standards established, if he wants career progress.
Employee’s desire for career progress should expose their skills, knowledge, qualifications, achievements, performance etc., to those who take the decision about career progress.
Employees may resign from the present job in the organisation, if they find that career opportunities elsewhere are better than those of the present organisation.
(d) Change the Job:
Employees who put organisational loyalty above career loyalty may change the job in the same organisation if they find that career opportunities in other jobs in the same organisation are better than those in the present job.
(e) Career Guidance:
Career guidance and counseling provides information, advice and encouragement to switch over to other career or organisation, where career opportunities are better.
What is Career Development – Elements
Career development refers to “the outcomes of actions on career plans as viewed from both individual and organizational perspectives”. The outcomes desired by organizations include achieving the best match between people and jobs. Individuals’ desired outcomes range from status to job flexibility to monetary rewards, depending upon the situation.
Career development initiatives in organizations are necessary for the following reasons:
a. Essential for implementing career plans
b. Undertaken by individual employees and the organization to meet career aspirations and job requirements
c. Every employee must accept his responsibility for development
d. Career planning and organizational career planning will prove really useful if they are properly integrated
The career development process in organizations should have the following characteristic elements, namely:
1. Career Need Assessment
2. Developing and Publishing Career Development Opportunities
3. Need-Opportunity Alignment-
i. Management by Objectives
ii. Career Counseling
4. Monitoring Career Moves
What is Career Development – 5 Important Stages: Growth, Exploration, Establishment, Maintenance and Decline Stage
Each person’s career goes though stages, and it is important for us to understand the nature of this career cycle. One reason it is important to understand how career evolves is that it can enable us to better plan our career and deal with occasional career crisis if and when they occur.
Another reason is that it can improve our own performances as a supervisor by giving us a better insight into employee’s behaviour. (For example – many employees undergo a “mid-life crisis” at age 40 or so, during which they agonise over the fact that their accomplishments have not kept pace with their expectations- the result of this introspection can be prolonged disappointment for employees, during which their performance can be adversely affected).
The main stages one’s career goes through can be summarised as follows:
The growth stage lasts roughly from birth to age 14 and is a period during which the person develops a self-concept by identifying with an interaction with other people such as – family, friends and teachers. Towards the beginning of this period, role-playing is important, and children experiment with different ways of acting; this helps them to form impressions of how other people react to different behaviours and contributes to their developing a unique self-concept, or identity.
Towards the end of this stage, the adolescent (who by this time has developed some preliminary ideas of what his or her interests and abilities are) begins some realistic thinking about alternative occupations.
The exploration stage is the period, roughly from age 15-24, during which a person seriously explores various occupational alternatives, attempting to match these alternatives with what he or she has learnt about them (and about his or her own abilities and interest from school, leisure activities and part-time work).
Some tentative broad occupational choices are usually made during the beginning of this period. This choice is refined as the person learns himself or herself more about the option and until, towards the end of this period, a seemingly appropriate decision is made and the person tries out for a chosen job.
Probably the most important task the person has in this and the preceding stage is that of developing a realistic understanding of his or her abilities and talents. Similarly, the person must discover and develop his or her values, motives and ambitions and make sound educational decisions based on reliable source of information about occupational alternatives.
The establishment stage spans roughly ages 24 to 44 and is the heart of most people’s work lives. Sometimes during this period (hopefully towards the beginning) a suitable occupation is found and the person engages in those activities that help him or her to earn a permanent place in it. Often (and particularly in the professions), the person locks on to a chosen occupation early.
But in most cases, this is a period during which the person is continually testing his or her capabilities and ambition against those of the initial occupational choice. The establishment stage is itself comprised of three sub stages.
The Trial Substage lasts from about ages 25-30 – during this period the person determines whether or not the chosen field is suitable; if it is not, several changes might be attempted. (Sunita might have her heart set on a career in retailing, for example, but often several months of constant travel as a newly hired assistant buyer for a department store, she might decide that a less travel-oriented career such as – that in market-research is more in tune with her needs).
Roughly between the ages 30 and 40, the person goes through a Stabilization Substage during which firm occupational goals are set and the person does more explicit career planning to determine the sequence of promotions, job changes, and/or any educational activities that seem necessary for accomplishing these goals. Finally, somewhere between the mid-thirties and mid-forties, the person may enter the Mid-Career Crisis Substage.
During this period people often make a major reassessment of their progress relative to original ambitions and goals. They may find that they are not going to realise their dreams (such as – being company president) or that, having accomplished what they set out to do, their dreams are not all they were cut out to be.
Also during this period, people have to decide how important work and career are to be in their total life. It is often during this mid-career crisis sub-stage that the person is, for the first time, faced with the difficult decisions of what he or she really wants, what really can be accomplished, and how much must be sacrificed to achieve this.
It is usually during this crisis stage that some people first realise they have what Schein calls Career Anchors – basic concerns for security or for independence and freedom, for instance which they will not give us if a choice has to be made.
4. Maintenance Stage:
Between the ages of 45-65, many people simply slide from the stabilization sub stage into this maintenance stage. During this later period the person has typically created for himself or herself a place in the world of work and most efforts are now directed to securing that stage.
As retirement age approaches, there is often a deceleration period, during which many people are faced with the prospect of having to accept reduced levels of power and responsibility and have to learn to accept and develop new roles as mentor and confidante for those who are younger.
There is then the more or less inevitable retirement, often which the person is faced with the prospects and finding alternative uses for the time and effort formerly expended on his or her occupation.
What is Career Development – Practices Adopted by Some Organisations in Career Development
There is no uniform pattern in the practices adopted by organisations in our country in order to promote career development programmes, though the overall objective remains the same. All the same, we come across some similarities also in certain cases.
In the private sector organisations, career development activities are usually conducted for executives on a case-to-case basis and rarely on a group basis. An idea about the practices adopted by organisations in career development programmes in our country can be had from the following examples.
In some private organisations such as L&T, Godrej Soaps Ltd and Batliboi Ltd, career development programmes for executives are much more targeted and performance oriented than in the government organisations. In these three organisations, the career development patterns are almost the same, the reason being that big organisations are continuously looking forward to innovative schemes and borrowing HRD practices from each other.
These organisations are conducting training and development programmes mostly in the areas of management behaviour, computer learning, programmes concerning HRD interventions, core development programmes, appreciation programmes and so on.
The procedure usually followed is that the request received by the HRD department from the executive is referred to the head of the department. After receiving the comment from the head of the department concerned, the HRD department decides whether the executive is to be trained and, if yes, in which area.
The outcome of the training programme is reviewed from time to time, and changes are made in the contents of the programme according to the requirement of the executive. In other words, it can be said that a career development programme focuses on immediate needs of the executive so as to be helpful in the future growth of the executive.
In Batliboi Ltd, there is a little difference. It selects one or two executives from the team and sends them for training and on the completion of their training, they are required to conduct training programme for others.
Due to limited resources earmarked for HRD in most private sector organisations, career development efforts are made very cautiously. Since the general feeling is that the development of the individual takes place primarily through his/her own efforts, the individual should continuously upgrade his/her skills and knowledge and also bring about the desired improvement in his/her behaviour and attitude.
The immediate boss should council, coach and advise the executive, delegating some decision-making powers and involving in the process of decision-making and team work and team building. The organisation at its own part should support the executive through various techniques such as job rotation, job enrichment and enlargement, training and development and special assignments.
As against private sector organisations, in government and public sectors, promotion usually takes place according to seniority. For example, there are guidelines laid down in the National Training Policy and, therefore, in all the Central government services, the same are followed.
In Indian Railways, there are training managers in different zones in different departments who look after training activities which differ from category to category. For example, Group ‘A’ officers are normally subjected to three types of training programmes, namely – (a) mandatory training, (b) functional training and (c) strategic management courses.
All said and done, there is no doubt that career development system is beneficial to both the parties, namely – (a) the employees and (b) the organisation itself. Employees are benefited because they are able to have more realistic goals and expectations; better feedback about their performance; better communication, behavioural and functional skills; and better career decisions.
The organisations are also benefited because of the improved skills and understanding of the employees, better communication within the organisation, greater retention of valued employees, greater clarification of organisational goals, increased effectiveness of personnel systems of the organisation and expanded public image of the organisation as a people developer.
What is Career Development – Theories
1. Roe’s Theory of Career Choice (1956):
Anne Roe was among the first to use ‘needs’ explicitly and extensively in a theory of vocational development—taking Maslow’s system for her frame of reference. Roe sought to find out what aspects of personality differentiated scientists in various fields. Roe concluded that differences in early childhood experiences were reflected in later choices of occupation.
More specifically, she found that men from homes oriented to the needs of the children and homes that put a premium on warm, satisfactory relationships within the family tended to enter occupations that provided further such warmth and support. Men whose occupations involved a minimum of contact with others on the job and for whom work was often a solitary activity characteristically come from homes in which the early relationships had not been close or rewarding.
These different types of parent-child relations were seen as producing a major orientation either toward or not toward persons. According to the theory, it is these orientations that lead to interest development and occupational choice.
Roe further formalized her theory in a classification of all occupations on the two dimensions of field and level. The field dimension is based on interests and the primary focus of occupation, and the level dimension is defined in terms of responsibility, capacity, and skill in occupation.
Finally, according to Roe, the level of vocational activity is largely the product of genetic differences, which result in differences of interests and the way people attempt to manipulate various aspects of their environment. Conceivably, then, careful appraisal of an individual’s childhood and the individual’s perception of his or her parents’ attitudes along with an accurate assessment of the child’s aptitudes should lead one to predict with accuracy the general occupational class to be pursued.
2. Ginzberg’s Theory of Career Choice (1951):
Ginzberg, Ginsburg, Axelrad, and Herma formulated a developmental theory of career choice that has been the prototype for subsequent thinking about how and why adolescents choose a career as they do.
The central position in this theory is that career choice is a process that extends from approximately age 10 to 21, encompassing the years of adolescence, principally through high school and also the upper elementary grades (5th and 6th).
Ginzberg states that the single most important factor in the process of determining a career is the series of interlocked decisions that adolescents make over time. The second proposition is that the process of career choice is largely irreversible—once launched it becomes difficult to change directions.
Finally, Ginzberg proposes that the career choice process culminates in a- compromise between needs and reality. This proposition rests upon the assumption that the ego mediates between what the individual wants (id impulses) and what reality allows (super ego, dictates) and environmental constraints.
Ginzberg and his associates constructed vocational choice as an irreversible process, occurring in reasonably clearly marked periods- fantasy, tentative, and realistic.
The primary task the child accomplishes during the first period of vocational development is part of the general maturational process of changing from a play orientation to a work orientation. As a child grows older and approaches the terminal point of the fantasy period, a gradual reorientation occurs reflecting a preference for vocational activity, which leads to accomplishments resulting in abstract satisfaction such as pleasing a parent.
This occurs approximately between the ages 11 and 18 and is divided into three stages that differ in their vocational development tasks. The interest stage is the time, around the age 11 or 12, when the child begins to recognize the need to identify a career direction. The capacity stage, age 12-14, logically follows the interest stage.
Here students introduce the notion of ability into their vocational considerations. In the value stage, following during the 15th and 16th years, students undergo a very marked change in their approach to vocational choice. The transition stage closes the tentative period occurring at about age 17 or 18. This stage is characteristically calmer than the preceding stages of the tentative period.
It takes place approximately between 18 and 22 years of age or even as late as 24 years. The first stage is exploration stage. The principal task is simply the selection of a path to follow from among two or three strongly held interests. Next is the crystallization stage. By this time, students have become more or less deeply involved in a specific field.
They definitely have a clear idea of occupational tasks they wish to avoid. The final stage is the specification stage. It is the final point in career development. The individual elaborates upon his choice by selecting specific jobs or graduate school subspecialty.
Whereas Ginzberg et al. formulated their explanation of how career choices are made during adolescence primarily from an ego psychological point of view, Super (1957) adopted a largely phenomenological frame of references to conceptualize the process of career development.
His basic tenet is that ‘in choosing an occupation one is’ in effect choosing a means of implementing a self-concept’. It is also a continuous process and projects into adulthood as the individual continually adjusts to a career.
Super follows the tradition of Hall’s theory of continuous development from childhood to adolescence with the self-concept being clarified and crystallized rather than conflicted. The implication is that Super considers synthesis rather than compromise as the outcome of adolescence career development.
Super and Overstreet (1960) have hypothesized that there are three progressive trends in career development from early to late adolescence toward greater goal direction, independence, and realism.
They do not identify periods or stages in the process, but Tiedeman and O’Hare (1963) also form a self-concept orientation and specify three criteria for delineating stages- discreteness, dominance, and irreversibility. The dimensions of career development cutting across these stages have been enumerated by Super as follows.
i. Awareness of the Need to Choose:
It is a mark of career maturity, particularly in early adolescence, to recognize the societal expectation that all individuals declare a career of their choice.
ii. Specificity of Information and Planning:
By the time a young person has reaches early adulthood, career choice should be based upon reliable and relevant information about the world of work and career plans should be feasible and easy to implement.
Combining Ginzberg’s focus on ego function in career decisions making with Super’s emphasis on the dimensions of career maturity, and adding components from factorial analyses of ability, Crites (1974) has formulated a model of career maturity that encompasses both the content and the process of career decision making.
The model has been adopted from the research of British psychologists Vernon (1950) and Burt (1954) on the structures of abilities. They propose that abilities are organized in a hierarchical fashion. At the lowest level of hierarchy are specific variables of interest—knowledge of the world of work. At the intermediate level are the group factors of dimensions that converge upon the highest level of the hierarchical model— the general factor ‘G’.
This ‘G’ is the degree of career maturity. It can be defined in absolute terms as ‘the place reached on the continuum of career development’ (Super 1955) or in relative terms with respect to the individual’s standing in the appropriate age or grade reference group.
Erickson (1959) considered a career as an individual’s course of development through chronologically successive life stages. This interpretation was later worked out in more detail by various researchers. A life or career stage is characterized, according to Erickson, by its limits or transition (career transition) from, respectively, the preceding stage to the present one and from the present stage to the next one.
Such a transition takes place when a person is rather abruptly confronted with new circumstances or unfamiliar problems or tasks, or when he or she finds the ways of adjusting to the stage insufficient. In general, a process of re-orientation, i.e., adaptation or readjustment, will then be necessary to enable him or her to stand up to or feel at home in the new stage.
All the above theorists converge on three points. First, occupational and career thinking occurs during adolescence; second, values have their basis in abilities and attitudes; and third, vocational interests and work values seem to be closely related with each other.
Among the first to incorporate values into a theory of vocational development were Ginzberg, Eliginberg (1951), and a group of associates, who established three categories of sources of satisfaction from work-
i. Intrinsic values are satisfactions derived from activity itself.
ii. Extrinsic values are the returns that a job provides.
iii. Concomitant values are those aspects of work that are part of the task situation, although not necessarily part of the work itself, e.g., in many tasks the appeal lies not in what one does but in the interaction a person enjoys with others while working.
The common dimensions that have been identified most frequently with respect to satisfaction are the following-
i. Security- Desire to have a high income, economic security, good fringe benefits, etc.
ii. Autonomy- Desire to act independently or to exert influence.
iii. Affiliation- Desire to maintain social contacts, either active or passive.
iv. Respect- Wish to gain recognition, esteem, respect, and status.
v. Self-expression- Desire to express oneself in one’s work to accomplish given tasks.
The last four dimensions correspond to the ‘higher needs’ in Maslow’s need theory (1953)—lower needs are not represented except for the security dimension. Whatever be the consensus of different authors regarding work values, the importance of work values has not been undermined. Further, almost all theorists agree that they have their basis in needs. The difference between an attitude and value is one of degree.
Distaste for hard work itself reflects value, whereas unwillingness to do a particular task reflects attitude. In other words, values are holistic, conceptualizing, and broad oriented. Since they serve as criteria in judgment, they help an individual to choose the relevant, aspects of work.
What is Career Development – 6 Major Advantages
Some major advantages of career development programme for an organisation are as follows:
(i) Management can be assured of availability of needed talents according to the changing staff requirements of the organisation;
(ii) It enables the management to attract and maintain a pool of talented employees;
(iii) It reduces the scope of frustration among employees, particularly women and minorities, as they become aware of management’s endeavour to provide them with opportunities for career advancement;
(iv) Effective career development programme promotes opportunities for advancement for employees with diverse cultural backgrounds;
(v) Career development programme is also conducive to promotion of employees’ loyalty and belongingness towards the organisation;
(vi) The functioning of the organisation is strengthened as a result of more fruitful contributions from the employees.
Much of the success of career development programme depends on the employees who are consistently interested in their career advancement, possess the needed skills and capabilities and are clear about their career plans. You can take the horse to the water, but cannot make it drink.
The “national career service” launched by the ministry of labour and employment, Government of India in July 2015 is expected to be of substantial help in the organisations in their career management and career development activities.
What is Career Development – Limitations: Dual Career Families, Low Ceiling Careers, Declining Career Opportunities and a Few Others
Despite planning the career, employees face certain career problems.
(1) Dual Career Families:
With the increase in career orientation among women, number of female employees is on increase. With this the dual career families have also been on increase. Consequently, one of those family members might face the problem of transfer. This has become a complicated problem to organisations. Consequently, other employees may be at a disadvantage.
(2) Low Ceiling Careers:
Some careers do not have scope for much advancement. Employees cannot get promotions despite their career plans and development in such jobs.
(3) Declining Career Opportunities:
Career opportunities for certain categories reach the declining stage due to the influence of the technological or economic factors. Solution for such problem is career shift. For example, career opportunities for ‘Statisticians’ declined due to computerisation. The existing statisticians can overcome this problem by acquiring skills in computer operation.
(4) Further, interaction of career issues with the issues of life stages of the employee and his family, changing needs of employee throughout his life cycle complicate the career issues.
(5) Downsizing/Delayering and Careers:
Business process reengineering, technological changes and business environmental factors force the business firms to restructure the organisations by delayering and downsizing. Downsizing activities result in fixing some employees, and degrading some other employees. These activities necessitate the organisation to provide training and to provide climate for job sharing.
(6) Plateaued Employees:
Employees whose promotions are temporarily or permanently halted, such employees are called plateaued employees. Promotions are halted due to various reasons including more number of employees seeking promotions compared to the number of jobs available at higher level.
This situation took place during 1980s in USA when the numbers of persons in the age group of 35 to 44 increased by 42 percent while the number of jobs at higher level increased by 21 percent. This problem was faced by the persons born during the period of baby boom of 1945 to 1964 in USA.