The HR Dictionary

Career Path

A career path is a group of jobs within a career cluster that use similar skills. Each career cluster contains several career paths. You can start in a lower-level job in a career path and, with more education and experience, move up within that path. The career path an employer designs with an employee, for that employee is an organizational career path commonly referred to as a career ladder or a vertical career plan. Here, climbing the corporate ladder is the objective. Many businesses create a career framework for their employees using career development features in HRM systems.

On the other hand, a professional career path designed by an employee for the employee himself is called a personal career path. It is based on a self-evaluation of abilities, passions, interests, hobbies, and values. The individual must exercise initiative to locate tools that support career advancement, and research topics that will help get to the next stage of the career plan in terms of a new job or whatever it may be. 

Career paths are also used by businesses to improve employee engagement and retention. When there is a clear career path in place, employees are more inclined to stay with the organization and advance. As a result, the organization will reduce turnover and achieve its short- and long-term goals successfully.