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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2003, MCB UP Limited
A recent survey conducted by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) in the UK (2003) provides some important empirical evidence about trends in career development. The links between career management and business strategies are acknowledged, but only around a half of organizations have a formal written strategy. Organizational support for career in most organizations is still driven by HR staff, though individuals are increasingly expected to take the lead. An open internal job market and formal appraisal and development are still the main career management practices. Career coaching, of an informal kind, does exist in a fairly widespread form. Work life balance remains high on the corporate agenda view of the workforce and their lifestyle choices, but concerns about special groups exist and are not well addressed. The problems of effective career management are about implementation rather than intention, with resource gaps for the "option" of career management. That means the role of senior management is critical. Future changes in practice focus on both encouraging more individual responsibility for careers and developing systems.
From this it seems the corporate agenda, certainly in the UK, is to better integrate career development with strategic thinking and policy making, which means greater planning, control and direction, while at the same time effecting a culture change which gives the workforce greater responsibility to identify and pursue their own career development autonomously. The hope would be that these simultaneous changes are mutually reinforcing so that commitment to career development from the top creates conditions where an organization is better able to attract, retain and tap the talent needed to succeed; and that talent is a part of a career savvy workforce, who know their own career interests and expect them to be met. The fear would be that strategic commitment to career development remains primarily concerned with growing future managers and leaders, and resources and policies are devoted to that, but other groups with other interests are left to make the best of an annual appraisal and the injunction to be responsible for their own career development.
ReferenceCIPD (2003), Managing Employee Careers: Issues, Trends and Prospects, CIPD, London.