The answer…

…in some ways? Not so much!

…in other ways? Yes! 

Career Development has its roots in the work of pioneers from the vocational education, assessment and counseling field. Names like Frank Parsons, John Brewer and later, John Holland and Donald Super, appear in the ever-evolving story of how career development became the practice and process that we picture today when we hear the term.

As career development evolved in the 20th century, it grew to include processes that are provided to groups of employees as well as individual approaches, techniques and, in some cases, even prescribed paths. Career counselors and coaches often bridge the two areas by helping individuals navigate the processes and examine or choose individual approaches. 

During this evolution, some basics were established that remain today. So, the first answer above is true! 

Here are four basics that remain stable:

  • Organizational Relevance Processes supporting continued professional growth are essential elements of a positive employee experience and a robust organizational growth strategy. 
  • Value of Coaching Whether formal or informal, the availability of coaches and mentors adds to the effectiveness of career development at the individual level and enhances the overall value of outcomes to the organization.
  • Supporting Structures Integrating career development tools and resources with related core processes demonstrates an organization’s commitment to employee growth and results in more sustainable positive outcomes.
  • Driver of Engagement Career development – the ability to learn and grow – continues to rank in the top drivers of employee engagement and a key factor in attracting talent. 

So, let’s also look at what’s changed – that second question and answer.

Three key shifts:

  • Wider Scope and Reach Globalization of business, markets and talent requires a wide-angle lens when evaluating career development plans and processes. Understanding how careers are perceived and experienced in multiple regions is critical to supplying processes and programs that are flexible enough to provide meaningful career journeys around the globe.
  • Transformative Technology Advancements in technology have created new roles and reconfigured others resulting in major shifts in the workplace. At the same time, current and potential employees’ expectations have elevated related to how the latest technology will be leveraged to support their development and career progress.
  • Reframing Purpose A gradual, but consistent, shift toward individuals wanting more personal agency about direction and options when planning and experiencing a career journey has brought with it a greater focus on finding personal purpose and meaning through work. Demands for mobility and flexibility are just a couple of the indicators that individuals want greater control over their development paths and goals.

Each of these trends impacts the process of career development at the organizational level and at the individual level. The great news is that elements within the trends can be leveraged with positive results. Technology enables greater global communication and connection. Globalization offers expanded development opportunities. The search for purpose in work offers the potential for deeper commitment and more rewarding career experiences. 

The basics at the core of career development – those elements that have remained stable – will supply the framework on which global talent will create flexible, mobile, meaningful careers.