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I-O Career Paths in Government

The career paths for government were found to have four job levels (see figure above). Government employees at every level are expected to perform technical delivery. As they advance, they are expected to have greater proficiency, and once one moves into a management position supervisory competencies become critical.

Many government employees retain the same general title (e.g., "Test & Validation Specialist") and progress through numerical band levels or Government service levels (numerical) after their title as they progressed up the career ladder (e.g., Test & Validation Specialist I, II, III).

Within their roles, some I-O Psychologists are involved in client-facing projects with various government agencies, whereas others work internally and conduct research on best practices. Within both tracks, some employees may choose to take the management track, whereas others may choose to remain individual contributors.

Across all levels of the Government career paths the following competencies and experiences were identified as most important.

 

 

The top competencies and critical experiences needed to succeed as an Individual Contributor in the Government career path are presented below.

 

Top Competencies   Top Experiences
     
  1. Communication: Verbal 
  2. Communication: Written 
  3. Critical Thinking 
  4. Customer Service 
  5. Ethical Behavior 
  6. Integrity 
  7. Interpersonal Skills 
  8. Listening Skills 
  9. Attention to Detail 
  10. Data Analysis 
  11. Knowledge of internal workings of the State or Federal government 
  12. Networking 
  13. Problem Solving

Click here to view the full competency list.

 
  1. Communicate with people outside of current branch, agency, or organization 
  2. Follow timelines and budgets on project work 
  3. Create and administer own projects from start to finish 
  4. Lead project teams 
  5. Write technical reports 
  6. Demonstrate that project work adds value to the organization 
  7. Become a part of a task force and/or committees 
  8. Work with customers or stakeholders who are not local 
  9. Monitor work to ensure it adheres to Federal law, regulations, and policies 
  10. Complete high visibility assignments

Click here to view the full list of experiences.


 

The top competencies and critical experiences needed to succeed as an Expert Individual Contributor in the Government career path are presented below.

 

Top Competencies   Top Experiences
     
  1. Integrity 
  2. Ethical Behavior 
  3. Communication: Written 
  4. Communication: Verbal 
  5. Critical Thinking 
  6. Problem Solving 
  7. Attention to Detail 
  8. Interpersonal Skills 
  9. Presentation Skills 
  10. Data Analysis 
  11. Listening Skills

Click here to view the full competency list.

 
  1. Complete highly complex projects that include a wide range of skills necessary (e.g., analytical skills, knowledge of various methodologies) 
  2. Deliver presentations to customers 
  3. Create and administer own projects from start to finish 
  4. Deliver effective briefings to senior management and/or customers 
  5. Follow timelines and budgets on project work 
  6. Demonstrate that project work adds value to the organization 
  7. Complete high visibility assignments 
  8. Monitor work to ensure it adheres to Federal law, regulations, and policies 
  9. Communicate with people outside of current branch, agency, or organization 
  10. Work on a breadth of projects with different types of customers and on multiple teams

Click here to view the full list of experiences.


 

The top competencies and critical experiences needed to succeed as a Manager in the Government career path are presented below.

 

Top Competencies   Top Experiences
     
  1. Integrity 
  2. Ethical Behavior 
  3. Problem Solving 
  4. Critical Thinking 
  5. Communication: Written 
  6. Decision Making 
  7. Communication: Verbal
  8. Results Driven 
  9. Customer Service
  10. Interpersonal Skills 
  11. Time Management

Click here to view the full competency list.

 
  1. Manage performance of subordinates 
  2. Lead project teams 
  3. Provide developmental opportunities to subordinates 
  4. Demonstrate that project work adds value to the organization 
  5. Lead multiple projects 
  6. Deliver effective briefings to senior management and/or customers 
  7. Make decisions in a timely manner that will benefit the organization 
  8. Follow timelines and budgets on project work 
  9. Manage multiple projects and/or working with one specific, long-term client 
  10. Monitor work to ensure it adheres to Federal law, regulations, and policies

Click here to view the full list of experiences.

The top competencies and critical experiences needed to succeed as a Manager of Managers/Executive in the Government career path are presented below.

 

Top Competencies   Top Experiences
     
  1. Communication: Verbal 
  2. Critical Thinking 
  3. Problem Solving 
  4. Communication: Written 
  5. Integrity 
  6. Decision Making 
  7. Ethical Behavior 
  8. Presentation Skills 
  9. Strategic Thinking 
  10. Interpersonal Skills

Click here to view the full competency list.

 
  1. Partner with others in the organization 
  2. Engage employees or colleagues 
  3. Monitor work to ensure it adheres to Federal law, regulations, and policies 
  4. Oversee work to ensure meeting Federal law, regulations, and policies 
  5. Make decisions in a timely manner that will benefit the organization 
  6. Communicate with people outside of current branch, agency, or organization 
  7. Personally complete special assignments from an Executive 
  8. Deliver presentations to customers 
  9. Demonstrate that project work adds value to the organization 
  10. Complete highly complex projects that include a wide range of skills necessary (e.g., analytical skills, knowledge of various methodologies)

Click here to view the full list of experiences.

 

Top Competencies and Experiences for Government

Across all levels of the Government career paths the following competencies and experiences were identified as most important.

 

Top Competencies   Top Experiences
     
  1. Integrity 
  2. Ethical Behavior 
  3. Communication: Written 
  4. Critical Thinking 
  5. Communication: Verbal

 

 
  1. Complete highly complex projects that include a wide range of skills necessary (e.g., analytical skills, knowledge of various methodologies) 
  2. Deliver presentations to customers 
  3. Create and administer own projects from start to finish 
  4. Deliver effective briefings to senior management and/or customers
  5. Demonstrate that project work adds value to the organization

Job titles among I-O psychologists in Government may vary substantially. The table below identifies some of the more common titles. This list contains general types of job titles that may appear within each of the different career levels. They are meant to further clarify the different responsibilities between career levels and may not present actual job titles in your organization.

Individual Contributor

 

Analyst
Associate
Consultant

Expert Individual Contributor

 

Expert

Manager

 

Case Team Leader
Manager
Senior Associate Consultant
Project Leader

Manager of Managers

 

Senior Manager

Executive

 

Executive
Senior Executive
Partner
Director


Click here to view a matrix of common job titles across each career sector.