Career Pathing

Definition: Career pathing is the process of developing a blueprint for the employee’s growth within an organization. A career path guides the employees to do nourish their position in the organization by figuring out their potential, knowledge and expertise; enlisting future growth prospectives; directing them towards skill development for the same.

It can be seen as an effective way of strategic human resource management for the companies since the ultimate aim is an employee development and retention of valuable talents.

Content: Career Pathing

  • Plan
  • Key Elements
  • Tools
  • Framework
  • Example
  • Conclusion

Career Pathing Plan

Planning a career path not only secures the future of the employees but also improves the employee retention ability of the organizations.

For the company, a strong career path approach can help it to attract superior talents in the industry. Since it opens up promising opportunities for the employees within the company itself.

Career pathing is therefore considered to be a significant part of human resource development by many large enterprises.

Key Elements of a Career Path Plan

A career path is said to be successful when the following four elements fall right in place:

Career Goal: There must be a set of clear and well-defined objectives to come up with a useful career path. It includes attainable career aim and vision while maintaining the clarity of details.

Rigorous Self-Assessment: Analyzing the strengths, opportunities, weaknesses and threats of an employee simplify the task of career pathing. Self-assessment not only limits to SWOT analysis but also comprises of values, likes, dislikes, aim, experience, etc.

Organizational Opportunities: A company has multiple job positions that pose tremendous growth opportunities for the employees. When the employees are aware of the job description and specification of each position, it helps them to fill the skill gap.

Skill Development: This is a significant part of any career path since it makes an employee capable of securing a higher position in the company. In case, an employee lacks competencies necessary for growth, they can always be learned through skill development.

Career Pathing Tools

When everything is digitalized, so is the human resource development activities through multiple HR software and tools.

Following are the significant uses of adopting these career pathing tools:

  • Career Mapping: Like a map provides an overview, career mapping helps the employees to figure out various growth possibilities within the company.
  • Succession Planning: With suitable career pathing tools, the employees can successfully grab promotion to a higher position or proceed with the required training or skill development for the same.
  • Action Plan: A career path plan should be realistic enough to define the skill requirements, experience, education, expertise and training.
  • Job Matching: The likes and dislikes of the employees, their expertise, interest, competencies and learning to the opportunities available within the enterprise itself.
  • Implementation: These tools align the training and development platforms with human resource software to ensure effective career pathing.

Developing a Career Path Framework

Career path framework is a rapid approach towards employees’ progress. We can also say that it is a sure-shot way of actualizing the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory for the employees.

Discussed below are the numerous strategies for building a robust and effective framework of a career path:

  1. Every business activity includes certain cost, therefore, a proper strategic plan for determining the career path budget and time estimation becomes essential.
  2. To start with career pathing, one must proceed in the ascending order of job positions in the organization, taking into consideration the post of a peon first.
  3. For every job position, there needs to be a set standard or benchmark which acts as a criterion for career pathing and employee promotion.
  4. Every organizational unit functions differently and so does the career opportunities in each of it. Therefore, every department should have a different career path framework to suit its functionality.
  5. An effective way of career pathing is allowing the employees to think over their present and future position in the organization; experience and abilities; and skill gaps.
  6. The career path framework should be accurate enough to maintain its clarity and simplicity. Also, the career pathing plan should be engaging, motivating, flexible and effective for the workforce.
  7. Appointing a development manager is worth since he/she can better plan and execute the employee learning and growth strategies. Adding innovation to career pathing starts with this step.
  8. Eyeing over the career vision of an organization paves the efforts of the employees in the right direction. According to this vision, the rest of the actions are planned and performed.

Career Pathing Example

In an XYZ company, a development manager is appointed to effectively impose career pathing within the organization.

A systematic growth opportunity for a trainee was structured as below:

Career Pathing Template

First we are representing the career path of this illustration in a diagrammatic representation:

An employee joins a company as a trainee after completing graduation. After a year, she holds the position of an analyst on showcasing her good work and prompt learning capability.

Later, the company plans for her cloud software training to ensure skill development for further promotion as an associate. It is essential to work as an analyst for at least 2 years for this appraisal. On fulfilling the above-mentioned requirements, she was promoted as an associate.

While working as an associate, she was advised to pursue a management degree to secure the position of an assistant manager. The other requirement for the latter post is a minimum experience of 3 years in the same industry.

Moving up this career ladder she can grab the opportunity of becoming the manager with a work experience of at least 5 years and superior team management skills.


Career pathing is a tool for the company to explore, nourish and channelize its internal talent. Also, when an organization values its people and takes an incredible step towards the development of its workforce, the brand image automatically prospers.

Career Pathing
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