March 13, 2023
10 min read

Developing a Career Path Framework: a Step-by-step Guide

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Whether you are just starting in the job market or looking to advance in your current career, knowing what to do can be challenging. Getting this right in your company is vital since – according to a report by McKinsey – lack of career development opportunities is one of the top reasons for quitting a job nowadays.

Developing a career path framework for your employees can be helpful. It will serve as a plan for the employee’s future career, helping them identify their goals and create a timeline and strategy for reaching them. It will also help them focus on their professional goals, improving motivation. 

If you want to know more about developing a career progression framework, read on – we’ll take you through the benefits and the steps you need to create one.

What is a career path framework?

A career path framework is a tool employers use to help their employees plan their professional development. The framework typically includes an outline of key roles and responsibilities within the organization, a timeline for progress, and a set of resources to help employees reach their goals.

Career pathway frameworks were often informal in the past, and employees turned to their supervisors for guidance and support. However, the job market and the workforce changed considerably, introducing a need for more structured career paths. Many employers have started to implement such frameworks.

Now that you know what a career framework is, let’s look at the steps you need to take to develop one.

Developing a career path framework in eight steps

Here’s a simple step-by-step guide that shows what you need to do to create a practical career path framework.

1. Create an organizational chart

You need to consider the roles and responsibilities of each team member and how they fit into the overall structure. You can use an organizational chart to define these roles and the hierarchy of authority. It also helps to identify the roles you need to fill and the skills and qualifications necessary for each position.

With an organizational chart, you can outline such things as:

  1. Expectations of each team member
  2. Responsibilities of specific people
  3. Rewards and bonuses for meeting outlined goals

An organizational chart can also help ensure that everyone on the team works together and contributes to the organization’s success. Additionally, it can provide a clear picture of the roles and responsibilities of each position, making it easier for new hires to understand their role within the organization.

2. Assess the current job profiles

You should also identify the tasks and activities associated with each job and assess the skills and competencies required to complete these tasks successfully. 

While looking at current job profiles, you need to consider the qualifications and experience necessary for each of them and the trends in the job market. For example, emerging technologies may impact job profiles over time. 

3. Define the progression of each role

Defining the progression of each role is also a vital step, as it can vary depending on the industry, the organization, and the individual’s skills and experience. 

Generally, progression follows a set timeline, and employees may move from entry-level positions to more advanced roles over time. 

For example, an employee may start as a sales assistant in a retail business and progress to a more senior role, such as a store manager or customer service representative.

4.Consider lateral career changes

Management roles should not be the only option for career development, as not all employees want to become managers. 

Lateral career changes can be exciting, providing an opportunity to explore and develop new skills. Consider this and let employees decide which route they want to take.

Making a lateral career move requires careful consideration and planning to ensure success, and developing a career progression framework can be a helpful tool to guide the process.

5.Identify development needs

Identifying development needs is an essential part of developing a career progression framework. It helps managers and employees understand the skills, knowledge, and experience necessary to advance in a particular career path. 

There are many ways to identify these needs, including self-assessment, formal assessment, or supervisor feedback. You can also conduct an in-depth analysis of job requirements to see how these two areas overlap.

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6. Provide training and development programs

You should design training and development programs to meet the specific needs of the employees and their organization. 

For example, suppose the organization is looking to develop a career path framework. In that case, they should consider offering programs focusing on developing the skills and knowledge needed to move up to the next level in their career. It could include courses on leadership, communication, problem-solving, and other soft skills essential for advancement. 

Additionally, training and development programs should provide employees with the opportunity to learn about the organization’s culture, values, and goals and any industry-specific knowledge that could benefit their careers.

5. Roll out the framework & make it part of your company culture

A solid career progression framework should be envisioned and rolled out in a way that makes it part of the company culture. 

You can do this by introducing and promoting the framework among employees, encouraging them to take ownership of their career growth and development. You need to establish clear communication and outline the expectations and objectives of the framework.

6. Revise the framework if needed

Career development is an ongoing process, with regular check-ins and feedback to ensure progress. Regularly conduct performance reviews and feedback sessions, assess how well your existing framework works, and implement changes when necessary.

Why is developing a career path framework important?

There are several benefits of developing a career path framework.

Employee satisfaction & motivation

A career path framework is a great way to build morale and motivate employees. In fact, one study suggests that career development plays a significant role in employee job satisfaction and effectiveness. 

When employees know what opportunities for advancement they have, they are more likely to feel inspired and motivated to work hard to progress in their careers. 

Better work performance

A career progression framework helps you track the employee’s progress and better understand their performance. It offers employees an outline of their weaknesses and the necessary guidance to overcome them. Thanks to this, they can achieve better results overall.


A well-defined career roadmap is invaluable for employees who want to reach their professional aspirations without too many roadblocks. 

Not only does this provide employees with an accurate understanding of what is expected of them by their employer, but it also allows them to chart their paths to success.

Such a roadmap shows people how best to achieve their career goals and develop strategies and objectives that will allow them to get where they want.

Higher employee retention rate

A career path framework helps employers identify possible career paths for their workers. This is important because it helps keep top talent by showing employees they have opportunities to grow within the company. Keeping top employees is a smart strategy because competition for the best workers is strong.

Moreover, studies suggest that even replacing an entry-level employee can cost up to 50% of that person’s annual salary. You can indeed find a better use for this money.

Effective development plans

Creating career path frameworks can help steer your employees’ careers in a direction you consider the best for them and the company. It’s a great tool you can use to guide them and help them develop their skills effectively.


The career development framework is an excellent way to help employees map their careers and determine the steps necessary to move forward in their chosen field.

It helps employees identify their skills, experience gaps, and most pressing development needs. It also provides a roadmap to overcome these challenges. It will help your people focus on their career goals.

FAQs: Developing a Career Path Framework

How do I create a career path framework?

To create career progression frameworks, you have to do the following:

  • Assess the current skills and experience of your employees
  • Set short and long-term goals and create a timeline for when you would like to achieve each of them
  • Decide which qualifications and certifications they’ll need to reach their desired career level
  • Provide resources they’ll require

Reviewing the created career development frameworks is essential, as career development is always ongoing.

What should a career framework include?

The critical components of a career growth framework include setting clear and attainable goals, outlining roles and responsibilities, providing opportunities for development and growth, and offering support and recognition. 

It should be tailored to each employee's needs and objectives, considering their skills and experience. In addition, it should provide employees with feedback on their performance and offer guidance on achieving their career goals.

What are the five Ps of career development?

The five Ps of career development are:

  • Planning – it involves creating a practical career progression framework that outlines the steps people need to take to reach short-term and long-term career goals.
  • Preparation – it’s about evaluating qualifications and developing the necessary skills. It may involve further education, taking part in job training, or gaining practical experience.
  • Performance – it includes tracking the progress towards developing the skills and knowledge required for the chosen employee's career path.
  • Placement – it refers to the process of finding a job. It can involve applying for jobs, attending job interviews, and negotiating salary and benefits.
  • Promotion – it refers to marketing one’s skills and abilities – creating a professional resume, networking with potential employers, and showcasing one’s skills and abilities.

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