Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat www. tbs-sct. gc. ca Skip to content | Common menu bar links * Francais * Home * Contact Us * Help * Search * canada. gc. ca Home Institutional links * Executive Summary * Chapter 1 * Chapter 2 * Chapter 3 * Chapter 4 * Chapter 5 * Appendix A * Appendix B * ————————————————- Versions: * ————————————————- Print Version * ————————————————- RTF Version ( 4. 56 Mb ) ———————————————— Career Development in the Federal Public Service – Building a World-Class Workforce * Previous * Table of Contents * Next Career Management by the Employer The nature of organizations and thus organizational careers are changing. When the environment was relatively stable, the operations of the organization were relatively predictable and employees who did a good job could count on continued employment and advancement. But the old rules no longer apply to organizations or their employees.
Organizations today need flexibility to adapt to ever changing circumstances and this has created a new, more flexible, employment contract. Instead of employment security, organizations try to offer employability security. Instead of employment for life, the organization offers to help employees develop skills that will enhance their future job prospects. Unfortunately what employability security means in practice is often unclear. As Barbara Moses points out, what organizations say and what employees hear are two different things.
The organization says: “You are responsible for your own employability. We will provide you with meaningful, challenging, and skill building work which will be good for your resume as long as you continue to add value. ” The employee hears: “We offer no job security. We will fire you when we have no more need for you. We will work you to the bone. We don’t pay particularly well. And we will tell you that you are our most important resource. ” Employability security is intangible and the new career is much less predictable than the old employment contract.
The new employment contract, coupled with the pressures on organizations to do more with less, causes significant stress. Moses claims, “the average worker today produces about 30% more goods or services than he/she did a generation ago with less take home pay, less job security and dimmer future prospects. ” The stresses and frustrations experienced by employees as a result of the new career can contribute to reduced productivity, poorer quality decisions, increased absenteeism and turnover, and increased incidence of disability claims related to stress.
Research shows that organizations can help alleviate some of the negative consequences of the new career through effective career management. Career management refers to the policies and practices established by the organization to help employees plan and develop their careers effectively. Effective career management requires that organizations: * redefine their responsibilities regarding employees’ careers; * revise their models of career management; and * redirect employees’ career aspirations. Under the old career rules the organization assumed responsibility for the career development and career paths of its employees.
Career management was a bit like playing chess — putting the right pieces (that is, people) in the right places at the right time created a winning strategy. The value that organizations placed on employees’ contributions was measured by the number of promotions awarded them and thus many employees’ aspirations focused on moving up the ladder. Under the new career rules the employee is responsible for his or her own career. The organization is responsible for providing information on future job opportunities and developmental experiences.
Instead of the organization defining success as upward mobility, the employee defines success for him-or herself. The new model of career management is more like being a real estate broker. The organization informs employees about options and helps the employee to assess the costs and benefits of various options but ultimate responsibility for the decision is in the hands of the employee. Effective career management today implies an understanding of: * the employee’s needs and goals; and * the organization’s needs and goals.
Without an understanding of what competencies the organization requires, an employee cannot chart a viable career path. Without an understanding of what employees aspire to, organizations cannot offer the right developmental opportunities to the right employees. Career Management Practices There are four major types of career management practices which will be discussed in turn below: * employee assessment practices; * career planning practices; * career development practices; and * underlying HRM practices that support career management. Employee assessment practices help employees to identify their skills, values and interests.
There are two types of employee assessment practices: * the provision of tools supporting employee self-assessment such as computer software, workbooks and courses; and * organizational assessments of employee potential typically through assessment or development centres. Traditionally, assessment centres were used as managerial selection tools which were controlled by the organization, did not try to address employees’ needs, provided little support to employee development and were demoralizing to those who were categorized as not having management potential.
Under career management systems, assessment centres become development centres which take a more collaborative approach, provide assessments relevant to employees’ career goals, recommend developmental interventions and help employees to prepare an individualized development plan. Career planning is the process by which individuals identify future career goals and the paths to reach those goals. Organizations can support employee career planning through the provision of career planning workshops, career counselling, and information services.
Career planning workshops help employees to articulate their career goals and identify opportunities relevant to their goals in a group setting. Career counselling offered to individuals provides information on opportunities and feedback on individual career plans. Career counselling is sometimes offered by external consultants (particularly in conjunction with outplacement activities); however, most career counselling is provided by supervisors as part of the performance appraisal and development process.
Information services provided for career management may include a variety of tools such as workbooks for career planning, videos, or a reference library. The most common service provided is a job posting system. Career development practices are initiatives offered to employees to help them develop the competencies required to reach their career goals. Effective development programs are based on an assessment of employee needs, allow for employee participation in the learning process, utilize a variety of learning methods, give employees opportunities to practice new skills and incorporate as many on-the-job activities as possible.
The most common developmental activity is training. Job rotation and formal mentoring programs are other such initiatives that have been successfully implemented in a variety of organizations. Organizations can help employees to determine their developmental needs and identify programs to fill these needs through development planning incorporated into the performance review system. The development centre approach discussed above is another more formal way of facilitating employee development. The human resources management practices which underlie effective career development include HR planning, job nalysis and career path mapping. HR planning includes analysis of the supply and demand for various competencies and action plans for meeting forecast requirements. Analysis of job content and required competencies provides a common currency that links various HRM practices (e. g. selection, evaluation, and development), and is the foundation of career path mapping. Career paths depict possible career directions. Traditional career paths tend to be defined in terms of upward advancement within a single organizational unit.
Increasingly organizations are identifying bridging paths which indicate potential lateral or upward movement across functions. This reduces the risk for employees in making these previously uncharted lateral moves. Each organization must tailor their career management system to their particular needs. There are, however, some key components that should be part of any career management system: * job analysis to identify required competencies and possible career paths; * employee assessment tools; * services to communicate career information; supervisors trained to support employee development; and * training and development opportunities that address employees’ needs. To establish an effective career management system organizations need to: * understand the organization and the business rationale for career management; * encourage broad-based participation in the system’s design; * communicate details of the program widely; * develop supervisors’ career management skills through training and development; and * maintain momentum by ongoing assessment and training.
The most common problems that have limited the effectiveness of some career management systems include the following: * employees believe that supervisors do not care about their career development; * neither the employee nor the organization is fully aware of the employee’s needs and/or organizational constraints; * career plans are developed without regard for the support systems necessary to fulfill the plans; or * employees develop unrealistic expectations of the program. Past experience in other organizations suggests that it is possible to build an effective career management system.
Research shows that employees in organizations where career management activities exist are more satisfied with their career, more satisfied with the organization and less likely to search for alternative employment. These results suggest career management is well worth the investment but perhaps the most persuasive reason for helping employees manage their own careers is the need to remain competitive — career management practices can develop more purposeful and self-assured employees. Career Development: The Role of The Employee
The rules by which careers are played out are changing. Whenever the rules of a game are changing, there is a great deal of confusion, frustration and disillusionment. For employees trying to come to grips with the “new career”, the changes can sometimes seem overwhelming. The research literature does, however, suggest that there are concrete things that employees can do to enhance their career potential. Six strategies are outlined below. Take responsibility for your own career This is the first piece of advice that most career counsellors will give their clients these days.
Organizations used to be stable enough to define clear career paths and to offer promotions to good performers on a regular basis. Employees who excelled could count on a progression of increasing responsibility, recognition and remuneration throughout their career. But the work environment is now so dynamic that organizations cannot promise that the skills employees currently possess will be the skills that employers will need ten years or five years or even two years down the road. Viable career paths cannot be easily charted when employers cannot be sure what competencies will be critical to future success.
The major implication of these conditions is that employees must find their own way through the maze. Taking responsibility for your own career means several things. It means: * learning about what competencies the organization is looking for and assessing how you can contribute to the organization’s strategy; * thinking about your career goals, assessing your strengths and developmental needs and developing a plan to prepare yourself for the challenges you seek (and it means doing this on an ongoing basis — not once a career but once a year! ; * communicating your career goals and plans to your manager (discussing your goals with your manager signals your interests and helps your manager to plan appropriate developmental opportunities for you); and * seeking out developmental opportunities like acting positions, special projects and task force involvement. Employees who ask for special assignments are more likely to be given these career enhancing opportunities than those who do not make their interests known. Seek out challenges and opportunities for learning.
One of the factors that most strongly affects career progress is having worked on challenging assignments. Those who tackle difficult projects and handle them successfully are more likely to be noticed and rewarded than those whose work is routine. A challenging assignment gives employees greater scope to demonstrate their talents and show initiative. And these assignments also provide tremendous opportunities for learning. Since organizations are changing what they do and how they do it, continuous learning is particularly important in today’s environment.
Another way to indicate your willingness to learn is by broadening your experience and skill base. Lateral moves, for instance, are an excellent way of developing greater insight into the organization and making you a more valuable employee. Build a credible track record. Contrary to cartoon portrayals of work life, doing a good job matters. But one good result does not make a career. Doing a good job will earn employees a pat on the back. What distinguishes between those who get a pat on the back for a job well done and those who get promoted is credibility.
Credibility comes from a track record of good job performance over time. It means consistently delivering on your promises and it takes time to build! When managers bestow additional responsibilities on an employee, they want to be confident that those responsibilities will be executed well. Managers need to be able to trust those to whom they entrust important work. This suggests that employees need to build a track record for solid performance in order to earn managers’ trust. Make your work visible.
Managers are typically faced with many competing demands and significant time pressures. Often, the only way for managers to cope with their workload is to focus on the exceptions. Employees who are quietly doing a competent job typically receive little attention from the manager who is busy contending with a variety of problems. For your good work to be rewarded, it must first be noticed! One key to career success, therefore, is to make your good work visible. Making your work visible does not imply exaggerating, bragging or taking credit for other people’s work.
It does mean making sure that your manager is informed about your work and any special accomplishments. It also means, for example, taking responsibility for writing a report yourself rather than simply providing input for it and being prepared to present your own ideas at group meetings. If your manager is not aware of your contributions, how can he or she reward them? It is also important to make your work visible to more senior managers. If it is difficult for your immediate supervisor to keep track of your accomplishments, it is even more difficult for his or her boss to be aware of your work.
Since research shows that senior managers can provide critical career support and, that managers rarely promote individuals whom they have not had face-to-face contact with, it is important to take advantage of opportunities to meet with senior managers. Seek out supportive developmental relationships. Research has shown that individuals who have a mentor are more likely to be promoted than those who do not have the benefit of such guidance. Mentors are more senior employees who take a personal interest in your career and help you learn about what the organization values and how you can perform your job more effectively.
Mentors typically provide feedback, coaching and career advice. Mentors can also open doors for their proteges to access challenging assignments and opportunities for visibility. The support and encouragement of a mentor can be of tremendous value in developing your career. When we think of mentoring we most often think of a senior employee who takes a personal interest in a junior employee’s career. However, not all mentors or mentoring fit this image. Mentoring roles can be filled by various people.
Mentoring functions such as coaching, career counselling and support can be provided by peers. Subordinates can provide valuable feedback and support. Career opportunities may be provided by senior employees whether or not they have a personal interest in your career. Employees who do not have a mentor in the classic sense should not discount the important support that can be provided by individuals throughout the organization. Supportive developmental relationships come in many varieties and all can be enriching.
This broader view of developmental relationships highlights the importance of networking. Getting to know more people throughout your organization and your profession can contribute to career development in a variety of ways. Having a broad network of contacts can help you to perform your job more effectively as you have access to more sources of information and expertise. Networking increases your visibility and your opportunities for learning. And networking builds relationships with a broader pool of people who can provide career advice and support. Develop your career potential.
While employees do not control all of the factors that will affect their career progress, there are concrete actions that employees can take to enhance the probability of career success. Understanding and taking responsibility for your career goals is the first step. Seeking out opportunities to develop new competencies and to demonstrate your talents will make you a more valuable employee. Making your work visible and enlisting the support of others can help ensure that your contributions are recognized. Being proactive in career development does work.
Federal Career Development Programs As Jocelyn Bourgon observes in her Fifth Annual Report to the Prime Minster (1998) (p. 15) “Learning is a key lever for Public Service Renewal. ” As Ruth Hubbard, President of the Public Service Commission notes(7): ” …. to build a modern and vibrant professional non-partisan Public Service it is necessary to commit as much time and energy to human resources management as to policy development or service delivery. It is recognized that to retain, motivate and attract a corps of talented and dedicated public servants requires profound change.
The Public Service must be able to provide its people with the breadth of knowledge and experience necessary to advise and serve in a modern and global environment. The Public Service Commission (PSC), the Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) and the Canadian Centre for Management Development (CCMD) are working together to shape and support opportunities for professional learning in the Public Service. CCMD is the only learning centre in Canada that focuses exclusively on the development and training of Canada’s senior federal public servants.
Among CCMD’s programs are the Management Trainee Program (MTP), Career Assignment Program (CAP), Accelerated Executive Development Program (AEXDP) and the Senior Executive Management Program (SEMP). Developmental programs have played an important role in the Public Service for many years. La Releve, with its focus on renewal has brought both the introduction of new programs and the redesign of existing ones so that there is now a continuum of corporately managed developmental programs from entry to mid-career to the executive level to the Assistant Deputy Minister (ADM) level.
The following career development programs are examined in this research: The Management Trainee Program (MTP) was established in 1990-91 to recruit and develop persons with management potential, vision and leadership in anticipation of their becoming future Public Service managers. The MTP is offered to recent Master’s graduates and to federal public servants in participating departments and agencies who have a recent Bachelor’s degree as a minimum educational requirement.
Throughout the program participants are given both hands-on work experience through an assignment program and an educational support component which complements and enhances the work experience. Upon completion of this entry level program, which generally spans four years, these professionals will form a pool of qualified candidates for future positions at the middle management level. The Career Assignment Program (CAP) has a thirty-year record of success in developing leaders in the Public Service. CAP is an integrated management development program for persons with executive potential.
It is aimed at middle managers and specialists who have demonstrated the necessary potential to become members of the Executive Group. The objective of CAP is to provide a representative group of employees with the opportunity to broaden their experience, prove their managerial ability and develop a strong corporate vision with a view to enriching the pool from which executives are selected. In response to suggestions made by participants, managers and advisory groups over the years, CAP has been redesigned to increase public servants’ access to developmental opportunities that will enhance their skills and competencies.
This is a significant step towards meeting the La Releve challenge of renewing the feeder group levels. In 1997-98 two new programs were created to make it easier to identify future senior executives in the Public Service. A new Process for ADMs (ADMPQP) was established to identify a pool of executives who are ready to step into ADM positions. The Accelerated Executive Development Program (AEXDP) was set up to help advance the development of EXs who have potential for more senior-level assignments.
The objective of the AEXDP is to identify a representative groups of EX-1s to EX-3s who demonstrate the potential to become ADMs and to accelerate their development and career advancement. It targets high potential employees EXs who are at a point in their career where rapid advancement to more senior levels of management would be in both their and the Public Service’s best interest. Self-identification is a key feature of this process. Executives know their capabilities and aspirations and can set new career directions by participating.
During this same time period the PSC, the TBS, the Privy Council Office and the Committee of Senior Officials played a key role in developing a regime for the collective management of ADMs. Collective management is a partnership which strives to balance the needs of ADMs, DMs and the Public Service as a whole. Under collective management ADMs become part of a corporate pool (the ADM pool) where they have increased visibility, their career interests and aspirations become better known and they have access to a wider variety of assignments.
Outline of Report The report is divided into four additional chapters. Chapter two presents and discusses the data collected during the interview study. Chapter three examines the results obtained from the survey study. Chapter four provides detailed case studies of seven Canadian public and private sector organizations that are considered to be “best practice” with respect to career development and career planning. To increase the readability of the report, each of these chapters was written so that it can be read on its own.
Each chapter begins with a section which outlines the objectives of this particular study and discusses the methods used to conduct this phase of the research. This is followed by a complete discussion of the results. Each chapter ends with a conclusion section where a summary of the findings of this phase of the research is presented and relevant conclusions drawn. Chapter 2 – Career Development in the Federal Public Service: The Interview Study In the 1997-98 Annual Report of the Public Service Commission, Mary Gusella observes (p. 5) that “the Public Service of Canada is engaged in a profound transformation.
The challenges of globalization, the effects of technology, redefined concepts of client driven service delivery and shifting demographics are driving changes in the nature of work the public sector performs, changes in how and with whom it performs that work, and changes in how it relates to citizens. ” In order to be able to attract, motivate and retain people essential to the work of the Public Service the government must be able to recognize, fully use and reward the talents of its people since “People are at the heart of successful public sector reform. (8) Research has shown that career development and management programs are vitally important in the midst of restructuring, downsizing, technological growth and change. The issue of career development needs to be addressed, if the Public Service wants to be able to realize the goals laid out in La Releve. It will be difficult, however, for the government to manage this issue without first understanding how government employees feel about the various aspects of career development which affect them.
This phase of the research was designed to: * increase the government’s understanding of employees’ concerns and opinions in these areas, * increase employee awareness of the types of strategies associated with career advancement in the Public Service. Specifically it seeks answers to the following questions: 1. How do Public Service knowledge workers define career success? How does career success differ from life success? 2. What are the career goals and aspirations of knowledge workers in the Public Service? 3. What factors do Public Service knowledge workers identify as increasing one’s promotability?
As reducing the chances that one will be promoted? 4. What types of personal career strategies are used by knowledge workers in the Public Service? Which ones seem to work? Which do not? 5. How does the organization (i. e. immediate supervisor, department, Public Service) make it easier for Public Service knowledge workers to meet their career development goals? 6. How does the organization (i. e. immediate supervisor, department, Public Service) make it harder for Public Service knowledge workers to meet their career development goals? 7. How satisfied are federal knowledge workers with their ability to meet their career goals? . What factors are associated with retention and turnover of Public Service knowledge workers? 9. What changes would make it easier for knowledge workers in the Public Service to meet their career goals? 10. How does gender, job type and participation in federal career development programs (CDP) affect the above issues? Methodology The following research methodology was used in this phase of the research. a. The Interview A semi-structured interview was developed to explore the issues outlined above. Career development is a complex process with many variables playing a potential role.
Interviews provide the opportunity to gather in-depth and detailed information about complex subjects by making it possible for the researcher to seek clarification on a particular response and probe with additional questions. Such flexibility ensures that complex information is not lost. This format also ensures that analyses are not limited to categories that were defined a priori. After completion of the first 20 interviews, audio tapes were reviewed and a coding scheme was developed using content analysis which is the measurement of the semantic content (the what) of the information.
The coding scheme consisted of categories of responses for each question which could be rated as present or absent for each participant. The preliminary coding scheme was then applied to 30 different interviews by a coder. In ambiguous cases the coder recorded the responses verbatim and discussed them with one of the principal investigators. Ambiguities were resolved by clarification of decision rules. The remainder of the tapes were then coded. Coders were monitored through regular meetings, spot-checking of tapes and availability to consult on coding questions. . The Survey A short (four page) survey was designed to collect demographic information (age, gender, marital status, education etc. ) and career histories (department, job type, classification, promotions, secondments, acting positions, etc) on interview participants. This survey was sent to participants prior to their interview. Respondents were given the option of faxing or mailing the survey back to the researchers. To ensure participant confidentiality, identification numbers were used to link survey responses to the interviews. . The Sample At the beginning of this research project Peter Harder set up an advisory board of senior Public Service executive to help us with the research design. The research objectives, budget and time limitations and discussions with the advisory board suggested the following sample frame for the interviews: * the sample focus on Public Service knowledge workers (i. e. employees found in the Executive, Scientific and Professional and Administrative and Foreign Service categories); * the sample be selected to allow us to: compare the responses given by employees in Federal Career Development Programs (CDP) to the responses given by employees who were not in such programs, – compare the responses given by women to the responses given by men, and – examine how job type affects career development. The CDP sample was created as follows. First we obtained lists of all employees currently participating in AEXDP (n = 53), ADM pool (n = 126), CAP and MTP programs. Peter Harder sent everyone on these lists a letter which explained the research. A random sample of 15 men and 15 women were selected from each of these lists and contacted by the researchers.
All but eight of these individuals agreed to participate in the study. The non-CDP sample was developed as follows. First, we stratified the government departments by function and size. We then randomly selected a list of 13 government departments from this stratified cross-section from which we would sample. The Deputy Ministers of each of these departments was sent a letter by Peter Harder explaining the research and requesting their participation in both the interview and survey phases of the research. All 13 government departments agreed to participate.
The list of participating government departments are listed in Box 2. 1. A contact person was appointed in each government department. The department contact supplied us with the names and telephone numbers of 20 men and 20 women from their department who were members of the Executive, Scientific and Professional and Administrative and Foreign Service categories and who were not participating in any federal CDP. We randomly selected ten names from each of these lists, contacted them by telephone, and asked them to participate in the research. Only five of the people from these lists declined to participate in the research.
BOX 2. 1 – Participating DepartmentsDepartment of Defence (civilians only) Department of Finance Department of Health Department of Justice Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Environment Canada Industry Canada Human Resources Development Canada Natural Resources Canada Public Service Commission Revenue Canada (IT Branch only) Statistics Canada Treasury Board Secretariat| d. Procedure Telephone interviews were conducted by three trained graduate students who had at least a baccalaureate degree and had previous interviewing experience.
Coding of audiotapes was conducted by three trained graduate students. Interviews lasted, on average, 40 minutes. e. Data Analyses After the tapes were coded, the data were input into the computer and analysed using SPSS. As a first step, frequency counts were conducted to determine the proportion of the sample providing a particular response within each coding category. Only categories of responses provided by at least 10% of the sample are discussed in this report. In this chapter the following types of data are presented and discussed: * findings based on the total sample; a comparison of the responses by gender; * a comparison of the responses by job type (job type was operationalized as consisting of respondents in executive, manager, officer, analyst, and scientific groupings); * a comparison of the responses by CDP participation (i. e. responses given by employees who participate in a CDP are compared to those who do not); and * a comparison of the responses by CDP type (AEXDP, ADM pool, CAP, MTP). When presenting the results the focus of the report will be on significant differences that are substantive in nature.
In this phase of the research we have defined substantive as being a between group difference of 10% or more. When no group differences are mentioned the reader can assume that the findings for the subsample (i. e. male sample, female sample, executive sample) are substantially the same as those reported for the total sample. Outline of Chapter This chapter is divided into ten additional sections. The first section provides a description of the interview sample. Section two focuses on Public Service knowledge workers’ definitions of career and life success. In section three the career goals and aspirations of knowledge workers are discussed.
Section four examines issues associated with promotability while section five looks at personal career strategies. Organizational career development activities (both positive and negative) are outlined in section six. Section seven examines employees’ satisfaction with their ability to meet their career goals. Issues related to employee retention and turnover are given in section eight. Section nine looks at how the career development practices in the Public Service can be changed to make it easier for knowledge workers to meet their career goals. The results are summarized and relevant conclusions are presented in section ten.
To increase the readability of the report each interview question in sections three through nine is presented in an autonomous sub-section. Total sample results are presented first followed by gender, job type and CDP breakdowns of the data. Relevant quotes are then presented. This organizational structure allows readers to identify and analyse only those research questions of interest to them. 1. Characteristics of The Sample Two-hundred and fifty four individuals were interviewed and surveyed during this phase of the investigation. This section provides a demographic profile of these individuals.
It is divided into two major parts. In part one we describe the respondent (i. e. gender, first language, age, marital status, dependent care responsibilities, education). Part two describes the work history of those in the sample (i. e. job type, department, participation in career development program, management responsibilities, years of work experience inside and outside the Public Service, career history). Unless noted, the data discussed in this section of the report were collected using a short survey that was sent to interview respondents prior to the interview itself. A Personal Profile of the Respondents
Gender Gender is a critical variable in any study of career development as the literature suggests that gender may influence career aspirations, career development strategies and career opportunities. Just over half of the people who responded to the survey (56% of respondents) are women (See Figure 2. 1a). To put this into perspective, recent data indicate that women now hold 51% of all federal Public Service jobs and that over 48% of women in the Public Service now work in the Executive, Scientific and Professional, and Administrative and Foreign Service categories (the target group for this research). 9) Age As people mature they pass through various adult life cycle stages. Each entails somewhat different problems and prospects, some of which can have a career impact. Levinson(10) has portrayed the development periods of adulthood as having three transition points: early adult transition, mid-life transition and late adult transition. The move to early adulthood is a period of completing one’s education, entering an occupation, getting married and having children. In one’s late 30s and early 40s, the mid-life transition, the career is considered to be all important.
Family complications stress this orientation and personal crisis can occur. Some frustrations in the career may occur and bring with them added questions about goals and identity. Midlife and later adulthood begins around age 50. In this phase the concerns turn around making a real impact at work, being a mentor to others and balancing goals and realities. The next step is retirement and perhaps a new career! Age data on the interview sample can be found in Figure 2. 1b. The majority of the respondents are aged 36 to 45 (i. e. the midlife transition phase) and over 45 (middle and later adulthood).
The women in the sample are younger than the men and more likely to be in the midlife transition phase of life. First Language The language distribution of the sample is shown in Figure 2. 1c. Two thirds of the sample identified English as their first language, 27% identified French and 6% identified a language other then French or English. This language distribution is virtually identical to that observed in the Public Service overall. Language was not significantly associated with any of the other variables examined in this study (i. e. ender, marital status, parental status, education, participation in career development programs). Family Situation Thirty years ago, most Canadian families relied on one wage earner. Now the proportion is reversed and two income families with both partners in the workforce seeking rewarding careers and work are in the majority. In 1995, both spouses were employees in 64% of all husband-wife families, almost double the figure in 1967 when both spouses were employed in just 33% of all families. (11) The dual-income family is a contemporary phenomenon of great occupational significance.
Individual career problems and prospects become heightened for working parents and employees in dual-income relationships because of the added challenge of managing separate careers for both partners and perhaps the responsibility of parenthood. Family responsibilities, particularly for children and elderly parents also complicate people’s working lives and their career development. Younger couples, single parents, and those with elder care responsibilities face special challenges as they try to balance the demands of parenthood and dependent care with the requirements and opportunities of a career. 12) a. Marital Status Marital status data for the interview respondents can be found in Figure 2. 1d. Three-quarters of the respondents to this survey are presently married or living with a significant other, 11% are separated or divorced and 14% are single. Women are more likely than men to have never married. This gender difference in marital status is consistent with the fact that the women in this sample are younger and with research which indicates that many women feel that achieving as professionals and having families are two incompatible goals. b. Parental Status
A large body of research links the parental responsibilities of employed couples to the incidence of work-family conflict. Employees without children can act relatively independently as they do not have the constraints of caring for dependents. The addition of the parent role can complicate an employee’s career development and advancement as it places greater demands on them at the same time as it adds constraints. The majority of interview respondents (69%) have children (see Figure 2. 1e). The men in the sample are significantly more likely than the women to have children (77% of men have children versus 62% of women).
As can be seen in Figure 2. 1. f, this gender difference in parental status is most striking in the executive ranks. These data are consistent with the data on marital status presented earlier and research done by Catalyst which reported that “many career centred women feel that they have to put their personal lives on the backburner in order to concentrate on their career”. (13) These gender differences in parental status may also be due to the fact that women with university education often postpone having children until their career is established. c. Age of Children
The concept of life-cycle stage is used to consider the variations in work and family-role demands encountered during adulthood. It is well established that conflict between career demands and family obligations increases as one’s obligations to the family expand through marriage and the arrival of children. Related research suggests, however, that many of these conflicts will decrease as the age of the youngest child increases. As can be seen from the data in Figure 2. 1g, relatively few of those in the interview sample have young children at home (12% with children under age 3; 9% with children under five).
One quarter of the respondents have children who are over the age of 18. Most of the children in this age group no longer live at home (only 3% of respondents with children over 18 indicated that they still live at home). A plurality of the sample have children between the ages of six and 18 (42%) and are in what is referred to as the “full-nest” stage of the life cycle. Children’s age was not associated with gender. Respondents who are managers and executives are more likely to have older children than are respondents in other job types. d. Elder Care Responsibilities
Dependent care is not just a question of care for children. Concern over elder-care responsibilities is now increasing. Elder care is defined as providing some type of assistance with the daily living activities for an elderly relative who is chronically ill, frail or disabled. The number of workers with adult caregiver responsibilities is growing rapidly as the parents of baby boomers enter their 60s, 70s and 80s. The 1995 Canadian census estimated that 17% of Canadians currently have some form of elder-care responsibilities. As can be seen in Figure 2. h, the proportion of this sample with elder care responsibilities (66%) is substantially greater than was observed in the 1995 census. Men and women in this sample are equally likely to have elder care responsibilities. Educational Background Research has shown that education is positively associated with career advancement. As can be seen in Table 2. 1a, the typical employee in this sample has a good deal of formal education. Approximately 80% of the sample have university education (33% have an undergraduate degree; 47% have at least one postgraduate degree; one third of the sample have multiple graduate degrees).
Educational attainment is not associated with gender. Respondents who are in Federal Career Development Programs (CDP) have more formal education than those who are not in these programs. Table 2. 1 Interview Sample: Educational Status| a:| Level Completed| | | High school diploma| 6%| | Some college/some university| 9%| | College diploma| 6%| | University degree| 33%| | Post-graduate degree| 47%| b:| First Degree| | | Business, Accounting, Commerce, Economics| 22%| | Sociology/Social Sciences| 25%| Computer Science, Engineering, Information Systems| 12%| | Sciences: Health, Natural, Applied, Physical, Mathematical| 22%| | Arts and Humanities| 20%| c:| Graduate Degree| | | Business, Accounting, Commerce, Economics| 27%| | Sociology/Social Sciences| 42%| | Computer Science, Engineering, Information Systems| 4%| | Sciences: Health, Natural, Applied, Physical, Mathematical| 19%| | Arts and Humanities| 12%| NOTE: Approximately one third of the sample have multiple graduate degrees| Research would suggest that lifelong learning is both a responsibility and pre-requisite of career success.
It is interesting to note that half of the respondents have earned their graduate degree since 1990 (17% have earned their graduate degree since 1994). These data would suggest that the majority of those interviewed have pursued formal education as a career development strategy. Respondents with university education were asked to indicate the discipline of their first degree and their subsequent degrees. These data are given in Table 2. 1b (Discipline of Undergraduate Degree) and 2. 1c (Discipline of Graduate Degree). Discipline of degree is associated with gender.
With respect to both undergraduate and graduate degrees: * Men were more likely to have degrees in Business, Accounting, Commerce, Economics, Computer Science, Engineering, and Information Systems * Women were more likely to have degrees in Sociology/Social Sciences and in the Sciences (Health, Natural, Applied, Physical, Mathematical) A Work Profile of the Respondents Job Type and Classification Career paths represent logical and possible sequences of positions that could be held based on what people actually do in an organization. (14 )Research suggests that career paths and progression possibilities are strongly linked o job type. Open ended questions in the survey phase of the interview study asked respondents: What is your current job title? What is your current classification? In this phase of the research, respondents are grouped by job type as follows: * Executives (ADMs, DGs, Executive Directors); * Managers (Directors, Managers, Chiefs, Section Heads); * Officers; * Analysts (Non-computer); and * Scientists (scientist, engineer, computer scientist, IS, IT). The number of respondents in each of these job groupings is given in Table 2. 2. As can be seen from the data, job type is not associated with gender in this sample.
This is not surprising given how the sample was selected. Table 2. 2 Interview Sample: Job Type| | Executive| Manager| Officer| Analyst| Scientist| % of Sample| 21%| 35%| 12%| 18%| 12%| | 44% male| 49% male| 49% male| 44% male| 44% male| | 56% female| 51% female| 51% female| 56% female| 56% female| Interview respondents belong to 48 different classifications. The most common of these classifications are shown in Table 2. 3. Just over one-quarter of the respondents are members of the EX classification. This finding is consistent with the job type data presented earlier.
There were no gender differences in the data with respect to classification. Table 2. 3 Interview Sample: Classification (most common given only)| Classification| % of Sample| EX| 27%| AS| 10%| ES| 9%| CS| 8%| MM| 7%| PE| 6%| PM| 6%| CR| 4%| IS| 3%| PC| 3%| CO| 3%| Management Responsibilities The majority of those who participated in the interviews (69%) supervised the work of others. Span of control (i. e. the number of direct reports) ranged from a low of one report to a high of 1,200. The plurality of the respondents supervised the work of three to ten employees (see Figure 2. ). There were no gender differences with respect to supervisory status or span of control. Department Individuals from 19 different departments were interviewed for this study. Participation by department is shown in Table 2. 4. There were no gender differences with respect to these data. Table 2. 4 Interview Sample: Department| Agriculture Canada| 2%| Environment Canada| 7%| Finance| 5%| Fisheries and Oceans| 3%| Foreign Affairs and International Trade| 5%| Health Canada| 7%| Human Resources Development Canada| 6%| Indian and Northern Affairs| 3%| Industry Canada| 8%| Justice| 4%|
National Defence| 7%| Natural Resources Canada| 8%| Privy Council| 4%| Public Service Commission| 8%| Public Works| 3%| Revenue Canada| 5%| Statistics Canada| 4%| Treasury Board| 10%| Veterans Affairs| 2%| Participation in a Federal Career Development Program (CDP) Management development is training that is specifically targeted to improve a person’s skills and knowledge in the fundamentals of management. Training programs that prepare employees for future positions within the company are known as development programs. Participation in CDP data are shown in Figure 2. 3.
Just over half the sample (56%) do not participate in any federal CDP. The rest of the sample was selected to include employees who participated in the following career development programs: AEXDP (10% of the sample), the ADM Pool (10% of the sample), CAP (11% of the sample), and MTP (13% of the sample). The sample selection process ensured that approximately equal numbers of men and women were included in each of these five groups. Career Description Careers may take many shapes. Employees can enter the work force and work continuously until retirement, or interrupt their career to further their education or to have children.
Interruptions for educational leave are typically thought to have a positive impact on career progression. Maternity leaves, on the other hand, are often associated with difficult career decisions (when to return to work, whether to reduce one’s hours at work) and delays in career progression. The following observations can be made from the data shown in Figure 2. 4: * men were more likely than women to work continuously (75% versus 44%); * women were more likely than men to take parental leave (45% of women have taken parental leave versus 1% of men! ; and * men were more likely than women to have taken educational leave (16% versus 9%). Career History The human resources literature links factors such as years of work experience, variety of work experience and mobility with career development and success. Promotions, often used to measure career success, are also included under the career history umbrella. a. Years of Work Experience Years of work experience has been linked to positive and negative career outcomes. On the plus side, employees with greater work experience have been found to be better “socialized” (i. . feel like part of the organization, know how things are done, are better able to perform the tasks and functions associated with the role) and are often considered to be more qualified for their job and subsequent jobs within their career path than are others with less experience. On the negative side, other studies have found that employees who have spent many years in the same organization and doing the same sorts of things run the risk of obsolescence and career plateauing.
Four measures of work experience were collected in this phase of the study: (1) years in the workforce, (2) length of time in the federal Public Service, (3) length of time in their current department, and (4) length of time in their current position. Years in the workforce data are shown in Table 2. 5; years of employment in the Public Service are given in Figure 2. 5a. Not surprisingly, these data are very similar to those on respondent age presented earlier and support the idea that the majority of the interview respondents are in the transition/midcareer and late career stages of the life cycle. Table 2. 5
Work Experience| Year Began to Work| | | Time Period| % of Sample| Mean Number Years of Employment| 1956-1966| 6%| 37 years| 1967-1977| 38%| 26 years| 1978-1988| 35%| 15 years| 1989-1998| 21%| 5 years| Women had fewer years of work experience than men. This gender difference is consistent with the fact that the women in the sample were younger than the men and with data showing women were more likely than men to interrupt their careers to have children. Male respondents have worked in the Public Service longer than female respondents (39% of men had over 20 years of experience in the Public Service versus 27% of women).
Figure 2. 5b presents data showing the amount of time respondents have spent working in their current departments, and Figure 2. 5c provides data on years in current position. While just over half of the sample (53%) have worked in their current department for more than five years, only 23% of the respondents have held the same position for more than three years. The majority of respondents (55%) have, in fact, worked in their current position for one to three years. Almost a quarter of the sample have held their current position for less than a year.
These data would suggest that the majority of individuals who participated in this phase of the study have relatively high career mobility within their own departments. There were no gender differences with respect to time in current department and time in current position. b. Variety of Experience The literature on human resources development stresses the importance of employees having a track record in staff, central and line operations for successful preparation for the executive level. Experience in other departments is considered to provide important growth and development opportunities.
It offers the chance to broaden experience, learn new skills and become more familiar with other areas – things that can benefit the individual’s career development. Variety of work experience was assessed in this phase of the study by asking respondents to indicate how many different line departments and central agencies they had worked in over the course of their Public Service career (see Table 2. 6) and the number of different positions they had held (see Figure 2. 6). Table 2. 6 Number of Different Departments Have Worked In| . Line Departments| | Zero| 0%| One| 33%| Two| 28%| Three| 19%| More than three| 20%| b. Central Agencies| | Zero| 30%| One| 49%| Two| 15%| More than two| 6%| These data indicate that the majority of interview participants have a wide variety of work experience in the Public Service. All of those interviewed have spent a portion of their careers working in a line department; almost 40% of the respondents have worked in three of more line departments. While 30% of the interview sample have spent no time in a central agency (i. e.
Finance, TBS, PSC and PCO), almost one-quarter of the sample have spent time in at least two. Eighty percent of the sample have held more than four different positions in their Public Service career; almost half of the sample has held at least seven different positions. There were no significant gender differences in any these findings. Respondents in the executive category and respondents who participate in a CDP have worked in more departments and held more positions. c. Lateral Moves Lateral moves are moves across functions and organizational units at the same level.
Strictly speaking, they are not career advancements but they afford employees a chance for variety and growth. Lateral moves are especially useful when opportunities for upward advancement in the organization are limited or blocked. Lateral movement was assessed in this phase of the research by asking respondents to indicate the number of secondments, acting positions and lateral moves they had made during the course of their Public Service career (Table 2. 7a). They were also asked to indicate when they had last taken a lateral move in order to enhance their work skills (Table 2. 8).
Table 2. 7 Lateral Moves| # Secondments| # Acting Positions| # Lateral Moves| | Total| Men| Women| Total| Men| Women| Total| Men| Women| None| 40%| 37%| 42%| 28%| 25%| 31%| 35%| 28%| 40%| One| 27%| 28%| 26%| 28%| 33%| 24%| 18%| 23%| 14%| Two| 18%| 19%| 17%| 22%| 24%| 21%| 16%| 17%| 14%| More than two| 15%| 16%| 15%| 21%| 18%| 24%| | | | Three| | | | | | | 14%| 19%| 10%| More than three| | | | | | | 19%| 13%| 22%| Table 2. 8 When Last Took a Lateral Move to Enhance Skills| 1998| 16%| 1997| 18%| 1996| 10%| 1995| 10%| Before 1995| 19%| Before 1985| 5%| Never| 27%|
The data on secondments, acting positions and lateral moves provide further support for the idea that the interview respondents have high mobility within and between government departments. One third of the sample have had two or more secondments; one third of the sample have made three or more lateral moves; just under half (43%) of the respondents have had two or more acting positions. The fact that just over half (54%) of the sample have made a lateral move in the last four years with the objective of enhancing their skills suggests that the high degree of career movement observed in this sample is part of a career development strategy.
This supposition is supported by the fact that respondents who were part of a federal CDP were more likely to have changed departments, changed positions, made lateral moves to enhance their skills, and taken acting positions. Examination of the data in Table 2. 7 indicates an interesting relationship between gender and lateral movement. Women are more likely than men to have never made a lateral move (28% of men have never made a lateral move versus 40% of women) and to never have held an acting position (25% of men have never held an acting position versus 31% of women).
At the same time, however, women are more likely than men to have made a higher number of lateral moves (13% of men have made more than three lateral moves versus 22% of women) and taken a higher number of acting positions (18% of men have held more than two acting positions versus 24% of women). These data are consistent with data presented earlier (i. e. % of women who have taken maternity leave, number of women without children) and suggest that there may be two different groups of women in this sample: those with fewer family responsibilities (this may be a career strategy for these women) and those with greater work-family conflict. . Experience outside of the Government Jocelyne Bourgon notes in her Fifth Annual Report to the Prime Minister on the Public Service of Canada the need for the Public Service to become a borderless institution. By this she means an institution that is committed to reducing barriers to the flow of ideas and information within and among public sector organizations (p. 20). Bourgon notes that a borderless institution encourages the mobility of its people within and outside the Public Service in order to broaden their experience and expertise and prepare them for the future (p. 21).
Experience outside the government was assessed by asking respondents if they had ever held a full-time position outside the federal Public Service. Those who indicated that they had held such a position were asked where they had worked and how long they had worked in this position. Almost two thirds (62%) of those in the interview sample have worked outside the federal Public Service. Just over half of those who had worked outside the Public Service were employed in the private sector. One-third worked for an NGO or in the quasi public sector, 22% worked for municipal or provincial governments, and 7% worked for a crown corporation.
Just over half the sample (51%) had spent two or more years working outside the Public Service; 32% spent a year and 17% spent less than one year. There were no gender differences in these data. e. Career Success: Promotions Promoted employees usually assume greater responsibility and authority in return for higher pay, benefits and privileges. Promotions are one measure of successful career development strategies. We collected two sets of data on promotions during this phase of the research.
The survey phase of this research included three questions relating to promotions: (1) the number of promotions they had experienced in their career to date (Table 2. 9)(15), (2) when they had last applied for a promotion (Table 2. 10), and (3) when they had last received a promotion (Table 2. 10). In the interview we asked respondents to speculate on why they had and had not been promoted. Table 2. 9 Number of Promotions| | Total| Men| Women| None| 16%| 11%| 20%| One| 21%| 20%| 20%| Two| 14%| 12%| 15%| Three| 16%| 21%| 10%| Four| 15%| 21%| 10%| More than four| 19%| 15%| 25%| Table 2. 10 When Applied for and Received Promotion|
When Last Applied for a Promotion? | When Last Received a Promotion? | | Total| Total| Men| Women| 1998| 27%| 18%| 13%| 20%| 1997| 28%| 26%| 28%| 22%| 1996| 13%| 14%| 10%| 15%| 1995| 5%| 5%| 3%| 5%| Before 1995| 27%| 37%| 45%| 36%| Before 1985| 4%| 7%| 8%| 5%| The promotion data from the survey would suggest that the interview sample has used successful career development strategies. Only 10% of those who participated in the interviews have never received a promotion. Half of the sample, on the other hand, have been promoted three or more times. Just over half the sample (54%) have applied for a promotion in the last two years.
Just under half the sample (43%) has been promoted during this time period. Three-quarters of the sample have been promoted in the last five years. Women are more likely than men to have never been promoted (20% of women have had no promotions versus 11% of men). They are also, however, more likely than men to have received more than four promotions (25% of women with four or more promotions versus 15% of men). These data are very similar to those observed with respect to acting positions and lateral moves and support the idea that there are different subgroups of women within the sample. . Career Success: What is it? How does it differ from life success? The interview began with a number of questions dealing with career and life success. Respondents were asked: * How would you define career success? * How would you define life success? * How does having a successful life differ from having a successful career? Results for each of these questions are presented below. How would you define career success? Responses to this question are given in Table 2. 11. These data indicate that: * Over half the sample (54%) defined career success as being in some way elated to satisfaction (happy with the work I do, happy in my job, I like to come to work in the morning, my career is something I enjoy); * One third of respondents felt career success was related to self-esteem (a personal sense of accomplishment, achievement, reward, something that meets my personal needs, jives with my view of myself as a person); * One third of respondents felt that career success was related to career progress (increased responsibility over time, continually moving me closer to my goals, logical succession up the ranks, jobs that “build on one another”); * Just over a quarter of the sample (28%) defined career success in terms of recognition (i. e. extrinsic rewards- – money, “fame”, others recognize you do your job well); * Just over a quarter of the sample (27%) defined career success as being related to learning (something that stretches me, working to full potential, enhances my capabilities, challenges me, always something new); and * A quarter of the sample defined career success in terms of contribution/influence (I make a difference, a contribution, can lead, influence others). Table 2. 11 What is Career Success| How would you define career success? | | | | | Total| Men| Women| Satisfaction-related| 51%| 50%| 49%| Esteem-related| 34%| 28%| 38%| Progress-related| 32%| 34%| 31%| Recognition-related| 28%| 40%| 20%| Learning-related| 27%| 26%| 26%| Contribution/influence-related| 25%| 24%| 26%| * Multiple responses recorded| | | | Gender differences For both genders, career success was most commonly conceptualized as being related to satisfaction. Women were more likely to associate career success with esteem (40% versus 28%); men were more likely to associate career success with recognition (40% versus 20%).
Job Type Differences As can be seen from the data shown in Box 2. 2, definitions of career success vary widely by job type. Those in the executive group rarely defined career success in terms of satisfaction or recognition. Their definitions of success are more likely to involve esteem (41%), contribution (36%) and learning (37%). For those in the scientist and officer categories, on the other hand, satisfaction and recognition are key. Only 10% of scientists defined career success in terms of esteem; only 12% of officers defined career success in terms of contributio