Last week, while travelling on the train to a meeting in London, I had one of those ‘aha moments’ that reveal themselves every few years. While reading an article in HR Network Scotland magazine I encountered a new term that fits very nicely into my paradigm of career development – the ‘Career Web’.
For some years now, in our ‘Take Charge of Your Career’ workshops, we emphasize the changes that are taking place in career paths and how the traditional career journey, that saw employees jump from role to role, as they escalated up the career ladder, have all but gone.
As organisations have flattened, so has the opportunity for such career progression disappeared, being replaced by lateral moves and work related assignments that expose employees to a much broader set of experiences, helping them to gain knowledge and develop skills and behaviours that will stand them in good stead for operating within markets that are truly global in scope and nature.
The article entitled “The Career Ladder is Dead – Long Live the Career Web,” forwarded that 24% of Millennials have already worked in four or more industries while 59% of 65+ professionals only every worked in a maximum of three roles during their entire career.
Making sideways moves and strategic sector-swapping is now looked upon more favourably by employers with 84% of those polled believing that employees who have moved jobs or sectors on several occasions will have gained more transferable skills and are therefore more attractive as employees.
The concept of a ‘Career Web’ feels much more in keeping with the reality of careers journeys in the current working environment The ‘Career Ladder’ was always frought with problems that saw many employees reach their ‘level of incompetence’ that resulted in them being promoted beyond their ability and desire and, in many cases, ending up on the employment scrapheap at an early age, or being side-lined to make way for others to prove their worth.
There are some sectors of business today that are loaded with managers that don’t have the skills or behaviours needed to succeed in their working environments, but are now stuck in key roles that are significantly inhibiting their organisations ability to perform well and causing many lower level employees to lose motivation as they see their career ladder pathways blocked.
In a working environment that is changing rapidly, loaded with volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity, a shift in perspective is needed and perhaps the concept of the career web will help to modify perspectives, enlighten career decision making and ensure that we are not facing the same issues of demotivation and disengagement that continues to plague organisations today.