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Career Paths: Skills or Competencies


Skills or competencies, which one is more important when discussing career paths? Before we dive into that let's first discuss what career paths are.


Career Paths

Career pathing is the process of aligning opportunities for employee career growth with organizational talent priorities. This process may include mapping their career direction based on vertical, lateral and cross-functional roles. Career pathing is driven by the individual's skills, interests and career objectives. It also serves as a catalyst for employee participation in learning and development programs that fulfill the current and future needs of the organization.


Skills or Competencies?

When it comes to career pathing, both skills and competencies are incredibly important.

Skills are the technical knowledge and training that enable an employee to have the ability to complete a specific task.

These skills can range from hard skills, such as operating a machine or welding two steel beams together, to soft skills, such as being a good listener or giving effective presentations.

Competencies, on the other hand, are more focused on an employee’s personality traits, such as their communication and problem-solving abilities.

Having both skills and competencies is essential for career pathing success. This is because both are essential for different reasons.

Skills are important for ensuring that employees are able to complete the tasks required of them, while competencies provide the personality traits and abilities that employers look for when considering employees for promotions or new positions.

Having a strong set of both skills and competencies can help employees to excel and advance in their career paths, providing them with the necessary skills and abilities to take on more difficult or higher-level positions.


Recap: In today's work environment, Talent professionals must include BOTH skills and competencies into their career pathing framework. Only including one or the other puts everyone at a disadvantage. Including both, however, will help provide the most robust and inclusive career paths allowing employees to excel and advance in their careers.

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