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Career Advancement

Overall, the greatest proportion of government employees, believe that an employee should work for three to four years prior to advancing. However, millennials are much more likely to perceive that they should advance within one to two years of employment (Y-46%, X-32%, B-33%).

Government employees are close to evenly divided on the question of whether their organization is committed to career advancement. Among all survey respondents, 38% said their employer was committed to career advancement. Another32% of survey respondents said their organization is neither committed nor uncommitted. Millennials are much more likely to rate their organizations as being committed to their career development.

Government employees who rated their own organization as uncommitted or very uncommitted to career advancement most frequently mentioned the following reasons for doing so:

  • There is limited promotion from within.
  • Promotions are rare and are done with not much clarity regarding criteria.
  • Employees provide themselves with professional training instead of the organization providing training.

To explore how government employees pursue promotions, survey respondents were asked to select one of the four following types of career advancement strategies to identify the strategy that they themselves use:

  • Climber - An individual who seeks advancement in their organization by asking for varied assignments, working long hours, networking and seeking greater visibility.
  • Hedger - An individual who uses all career tactics available to advance in and outside their current organizations.
  • Scanner - An individual who monitors the job market closely and is poised to change jobs, if not organizations, as opportunities arise.
  • Coaster - An individual who does little to seek career advancement.

One out of three (35%) government employees indicated that they pursue the climber career advancement strategy. Another quarter (25%) indicated that they do not use any of the career advancement strategies described in the survey. Millennials are much more likely than baby boomers to report being climbers and hedgers.

Government employees were also asked to identify the type of career path that is of the most interest to them. The survey presented these options:

  • Career Laddering - Structured sequence of job positions through which a person progresses in an organization.
  • Job Redesign - Involves broadening the scope of a job by varying the number of different tasks to be performed and increasing the depth of the job role by increasing the depth of the role by adding employee responsibility for planning, organizing and controlling tasks of the job. This can allow the employee to learn new skills and take on new challenges.
  • Job Rotation - Involves the systematic movement of employees from job to job within an organization. Job rotations prepare employees to advance to the next level. They are typically offered to promising employees.
  • Lateral - Moving to a job in a different department, but at the same level.
  • Accelerated or Dialed Down Career Paths - Intensity of projects are dialed up or down based on the employee’s own personal interests. For example, if an employee just had a baby, or is just about to retire, they may wish to dial down the intensity of their workload.

Pluralities of government employees reported that career laddering (35%) and job redesign (30%) career paths are most interesting to them. Millennials (44%) are much more likely to find career laddering desirable than are baby boomers (25%).

Case Studies