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Competencies Development Retention + Mobility

The Importance of Aligning Career Paths and Competencies

By Caitlin Leishman on October, 30 2018
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Caitlin Leishman

 Part 3 of a 5-Part Series:

As the modern workplace transitions from traditionally linear career advancement to more complex lateral career movement, so too must career development evolve. Modern employees proactively seek their own career development and advancement opportunities as opposed to patiently and hopefully waiting for opportunities to present themselves in a traditional organizational hierarchy.

To enable and encourage employees to develop tangible career path options it is essential that career paths are developed in alignment with competencies.

The primary advantage in aligning career paths with competencies is the direct relationship between career paths and an employee’s performance.


According to research by Brandon Hall Group, 81% of organizations now align career paths with at least one of five competency types.

Specifically, the five competency types are …

Source: 2018 Brandon Hall Career Development Study Among organizations that align career paths with at least one competency

The above graphic illustrates that the most popular alignment exists between functional competencies and career paths, with 47% of organizations adopting this method. On the other hand, career competencies are the least common, present at only 16% of organizations.

The more competencies are correctly mapped and aligned with career paths, the clearer the roadmap becomes for employees to navigate.

Competencies empower employees to clearly visualize the skills and experience they currently hold against those skills and experience required to meet their career objectives. In turn, employees can now clearly observe any skill gaps, training and development they may require to advance professionally.


See career pathing examples and learn how employee career pathing works (Video) 


There is a direct correlation between aligning competencies with career paths, and enhanced business metrics.

Source: 2018 Brandon Hall Career Development Study 


It is evident that those career paths aligned with at least one competency type deliver a positive impact in a variety of business metrics.

The most striking example pertains to employee engagement, as twice as many employees are engaged at organizations that align competencies with career paths.

It is also worth noting that by assisting employees develop their careers manifests itself in increased customer satisfaction. The ripple effects of a strong career development program are felt by much more than employees alone.


Next Steps

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Post last updated: January 7, 2021