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How to attract and retain talent with non-linear career pathways

Providing clear career pathways is one of the best ways to make your business more appealing in a fiercely competitive job market. 

But the pandemic has seen many people rethinking their career options, which means sideways or non-linear options are often more attractive than taking the next step on a corporate ladder. 

The ‘Great Resignation’ has put employee needs front and center, and we now know a lack of career growth is a common reason why people change jobs. In Australia alone, recent NAB research found that almost a third of employees are considering quitting their role for this very reason. 

With a similar number planning to change industries, the growing importance of helping people to envision long-term career options with your business is clear.

Talent are increasingly looking for change and flexibility within their roles

A growing number of people are open to exploring different career options. Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows that immediately prior to the pandemic, 228,000 people left an employer because they were looking for a ‘better job’ or ‘wanted a change’

Since then, the figure has increased each quarter and hit 331,000 people in February 2022 — the highest level since records started in May 2001. 

Candidates want to know where they can end up, and if they can continue their career with a company even if their interests and skills change. With transferable skills and experience and adaptable job architectures, it’s common for talent to start in one role and then head in a completely different direction. So it’s up to organizations to be clear in communicating opportunities for non-linear transfers and progressions.

The power of communicating non-linear, flexible career pathways

Be clear and proactive about sharing the various pathways candidates can access within your organization. Allow for step-ups, side steps and completely new career pathways should employees want, or need, to reskill, and drive this commitment with learning and development programs — offering employees the skills they need to succeed in new roles.

Communicating these initiatives within your organization sets a valuable precedent for you in a competitive market. When your EVP focuses on flexible career pathways and meaningful work, you’re helping talent envision a long-term career with you. Top performers are more likely to stay if they see opportunities to grow, and have the support of organizations to increase and diversify their skillset.

To offer non-linear career paths, you first need to understand your workforce

It’s all well and good to promote the power of non-linear career paths but to put it in action you need visibility over your workforce and mobility. 

Having access to the live skills intelligence that makes up your workforce, and how those skills can apply to different roles, allows you to map out possible career paths and easily open the door for employees to work in the right role at the right time. 

When you take a skills-first focus to your workforce, you’re increasing the mobilization of your workforce. This allows employees to shift into different roles that match their skills and potential, instead of a rigid linear pathway up from the role they start in.

5 steps to help you provide non-linear career pathways:


Introducing Career Co-Pilot

Recently, Reejig launched Career Co-Pilot with KPMG to show early career professionals the career pathways available to them, no matter their passion or skills.

Career Co-Pilot is built to help users set up a profile, link their CV, skills, and education in seconds, review bite-sized career advice and tips, and guide early career professionals through the career pathways, job matches, and opportunities that match their skills and potential, next steps, or transferrable roles.

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