Potential over Previous Roles: New style Career paths

February 22, 2018 Rita Chamaa


Rita is one of 3 HEC Master in Management students to have won the Cornerstone Prize for Best Essay, published here.

In the past, a job was the equivalent of security and peace of mind. An individual could have easily worked in the same industry throughout their entire life without the thought of changing jobs even crossing their mind. Nowadays, perspectives have changed. Millennials expect to be challenged and get bored easily if things become tedious. This mindset change was an indicator that career structures inside organisations needed to adapt to their future workforce. The classical organisational career has become increasingly irrelevant in a society where people are in pursuit of greater independence and flexibility with regards to career development. This shift is particularly significant for HR people who are responsible for recruiting new talent and managing the evolution of the employees within the company. In the past, when employees were on traditional career paths, the recruiter could simply look at one’s resume and determine which position within the company aligns the best with his/her experience. But today, people are constantly changing jobs which makes it difficult for a recruiter to base the employee’s role prospects on linear career path methodology. Therefore, instead of relying on the ‘logic of advancement’, where employees move up the ladder through a course of well-defined positions, HR must start using historical career data to suggest new, non-linear, skills-oriented paths for employees.  

“History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme” said the American writer Mark Twain. In the context of career paths, this saying rings true. People may have similarities when it comes to choosing and changing jobs in their life. For instance, the career path of an individual who started working as a junior product manager, who then becomes a senior product manager, who then moves up to business development manager and is currently Chief Digital Officer can very much be applicable to the career path of another person who shares the same background. With this idea in mind, recruiters could potentially use data from former employees who changed position within the firm to better predict roles for a current employee based on the similarities between the two of them. However, this raises a number of concerns. The first, is around the confidentiality of personal data and the laws protecting it. For example, to what extent can a HR department look into an employee’s personal data in order to build a “template profile” representing a certain career path? The second issue is around the reliability of this prediction based on historical data.

One things for certain, “ideal bureaucracy” with its well-defined positions in the organisation’s hierarchy is unsuitable for today’s workforce. If we want to approach our employees about their skills-orientated career path in the best way, more thought and research needs to be sought - whether it’s using historical career data, a different vetting process or behavioural simulations. One thing recruiters and HR must remember -  finding the right fit for a position mustn’t be exclusively based on what you see listed in a CV. HR and recruiters must make competency and skill-based decisions.


About the Author

Rita Chamaa

Rita is a Marketing major student at HEC Paris who prior to joining this program,  obtained her bachelor degree in chemistry and her masters degree in Chemical engineering. She is someone who can be as creative and artistic as she can be rational!

Follow on Twitter Follow on Linkedin More Content by Rita Chamaa
Previous Article
Transform your business: How to spot the perfect leader
Transform your business: How to spot the perfect leader

A leader is best when people barely know they exist, when their work is done, their aim fulfilled, they wil...

Next Article
Cornerstone & LinkedIn: How our learning management system is expanding corporate learning
Cornerstone & LinkedIn: How our learning management system is expanding corporate learning

It’s a well-known fact now that over the next 10 years, organisations will face an uphill battle as jobs ar...