Rethinking career paths in the digital age: Career Ladder to Lattice

The changing nature of jobs and evolving skills landscape with focus on building ‘Composite’ capabilities, a combination of technical skills, professional skills and domain knowledge, has resulted in the transformation of career pathways in the digital age. The focus on building skills and competencies vis-à-vis job roles is resulting in the evolution of shape of career paths from ladders to lattices.

Career ladder’s one-size-fits-all approach assumes that employees are more alike than different, and want as well as need similar things to deliver business outcomes. However, organisations are shifting towards flexible, open career models that offer enriching experiences rather than time-bound, role-based career progression. The career lattice model is an adaptive one and therefore, better suited to align organisations with the changing needs, norms, and expectations of today’s workplace. This helps both organisations and employees identify their progression through the lattice with changing skill requirements. As per the NASSCOM Future Skills survey 2019, 62% organisations mentioned that career paths exist and are visible to employees.

Due to the hyper-dynamic nature of skills associated with the emerging digital technologies, organisations no longer look to restrict the development of people with a specific skill set. There is a greater acceptance of horizontal career movements based on acquisition of skills that are not directly related to the individuals existing job role. The key to a career lattice approach is to provide visibility to growth opportunities available to employees and shifting much of onus of career growth to employees, once the resources have been provided.

Organisations are working towards mapping skills to employees’ career lattices where skills and their applications are mapped to identify employees’ proficiency. This is further linked to their career paths. They also use this model to motivate their employees, which is almost a necessity given the shorter shelf lives of skills and constantly changing business needs.

Read the full report: Future Skilling for the Digital Economy

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