You’ve probably heard the term ‘pathway’ mentioned in the context of elite sport: British Cycling may have identified and placed an athlete on a talent pathway in preparation for the next Olympics, for example. These days, such pathways are increasingly being used in HR settings, as organisations strive to keep hold of their own high-performing talent by mapping out clear, compelling career paths for them to follow internally (and stay onboard in the process). And in such a competitive talent marketplace, companies are turning to a new wave of data-driven career pathway tools to support their talent retention efforts.
In the same way that athletes like Dame Sarah Storey (swimming to cycling) and Rebecca Romero (rowing to cycling) have switched Olympic sports completely, non-linear career paths are becoming ever more commonplace. LinkedIn’s 2023 Workplace Learning Report highlights that 93% of organisations worldwide are concerned about employee retention and internal workforce mobility is now the second-highest priority at C-suite level. So how exactly can these career pathway tools support this type of HR strategy in the new world of work?
In the wake of the pandemic and the loosening of ties to the traditional office, a new form of social contact has emerged between employers and employees.
The 2023 Randstad Global Talent Trends report reveals that 76% of HR leaders say talent experience has become more important to their organisations in the last 12 months. Likewise, the 2023 Workmonitor survey of 35,000 employees worldwide found that 77% of today’s workforce rank a company’s values and purpose (including sustainability, diversity and transparency) highly when it comes to choosing an employer.
In response, well-structured career pathways offer the following benefits to the business and its people:
KEY STAT: After two years in post, employees have a 75% likelihood of staying with the company if they have made an internal move, compared to only 56% for those who have not.
KEY STAT: Career pathways can help organisations address what LinkedIn calls “the internal mobility disconnect” – despite claiming to focus on mobilising employees, only 14% of employees say their employers encouraged them to build a career development plan.
In 2022, infogr8 joined a cross-discipline contingent alongside Harvard Business School, the Schultz Family Foundation and Burning Glass Institute to develop the first American Opportunity Index. This groundbreaking study sought to answer the question: Which of America’s largest companies are providing workers with the most opportunity?
The study revealed that at insurance broker Liberty Mutual, more than 80% of managerial positions are filled by internal employees. The company has built itself on a philosophy of exposing employees to linear and tangential career pathways, encouraging growth, and fostering a culture where progression to the ranks of leadership from entry-level positions is common enough to seem expected.
“It comes down to providing an environment where everybody has the space to be successful, and the support and tools to grow their careers.”
— Shawn Tubman, head of talent acquisition at Liberty Mutual
For Liberty Mutual, the prospect of higher wages and vertical growth isn’t enough to retain talent, as competing organisations will offer similar benefits. One way Liberty Mutual does retain its talent is to expose employees to the full picture of opportunity within the organisation – something that career pathways enable. More specifically, career pathway mapping can help surface non-obvious opportunities that wouldn’t occur otherwise.
Career pathway tools also bring added value to talent acquisition as organisations seek to attract the cream of the next generation.
Say you’re a hotshot young developer, new to the job market and with ambitions of becoming a CTO one day. It’s likely to be the company that lays out the clearest pathway of progression up the career ladder that will ‘win’ your talent and your signature.
According to Randstad, 82% of talent leaders have seen an expansion in the role of talent acquisition to include career pathways and workforce mobility/development.
The benefits of career pathway tools for talent acquisition include:
Our EdTech pod was set up to channel education and workforce data into empowering employees and employers as we head into the future of work. Working in partnership with Lightcast, we’ve already delivered pioneering career pathway tools for the likes of the Association of Finance Professionals and Cyberseek (for cybersecurity professionals).
Get in touch with Jake to find out more about a career pathway solution for your organisation.