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I-O Career Paths in Industry
 

The career paths for industry were found to have five job levels (see figure above). Employees are often hired as an individual contributor and can advance as an individual contributor in a non-management track, or they can pursue a management track where they are responsible for supervising others within the organization. However, there is tremendous variability in the career levels available and the nature of work (e.g., specialist vs generalist).

Internal I-O Psychologists can usually pursue a specialist role (typically located within an HR department) focusing within one specific I-O related area (e.g., selection, training, or talent management); or a generalist role (often located outside of HR departments in organizations that typically employ few I-O Psychologists overall) working across multiple I-O related areas (e.g., selection, training, and talent management), most often with multiple departments or client groups external to HR (e.g., Finance).

Roughly 20% of the interviewees in this study worked in external consulting firms prior to obtaining an industry position. This experience helped the interviewees to:

  1. Think through problems more quickly because they had experienced how different problems were solved in a variety of other organizations;
  2. Have the opportunity to do projects earlier in their careers than if they had gone straight to working within an industry;
  3. Know what questions to ask their internal clients when discussing projects; and
  4. Develop specialty skills that may not have developed in a small internal company that doesn’t have specialist roles.

 

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

Top Competencies   Top Experiences
     
  1. Critical Thinking
  2. Accountability
  3. Professionalism
  4. Communication: Verbal
  5. Ethical Behavior
  6. Interpersonal Skills
  7. Planning
  8. Communication: Written
  9. Data Analysis
  10. Problem Solving

Click here to view the full competency list.

 
  1. Execute and deliver on results
  2. Work independently with minimal supervision
  3. Create relationships with various organizational stakeholders
  4. Manage relationships and networks with others in the organization
  5. Facilitate meetings with stakeholders in the organization
  6. Adapt and embrace organizational culture
  7. Deliver presentations to stakeholders in the organization
  8. Work through ambiguity and uncertainty
  9. Complete high visibility assignments
  10. Collaborate with people from different teams on various projects

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 Industry career path are presented below.

Top Competencies   Top Experiences
     
  1. Critical Thinking
  2. Communication: Verbal
  3. Professionalism
  4. Ethical Behavior
  5. Interpersonal Skills
  6. Adaptability
  7. Collaboration
  8. Problem Solving
  9. Accountability
  10. Communication: Written

Click here to view the full competency list.

 
  1. Serve as a subject matter expert in a given area
  2. Execute and deliver on results
  3. Work independently with minimal supervision
  4. Earn and maintain trust of leadership team
  5. Collaborate with people from different teams on various projects
  6. Maintain composure under pressure
  7. Work through ambiguity and uncertainty
  8. Create relationships with various organizational stakeholders
  9. Manage relationships and networks with others in the organization
  10. Demonstrate ability to effectively handle ambiguous situations

Click here to view the full list of experiences.

 

 

 

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

Top Competencies   Top Experiences
     
  1. Critical Thinking
  2. Communication: Verbal
  3. Problem Solving
  4. Accountability
  5. Interpersonal Skills
  6. Ethical Behavior
  7. Adaptability
  8. Collaboration
  9. Flexibility
  10. Professionalism

Click here to view the full competency list.

 
  1. Serve as a subject matter expert in a given area
  2. Earn and maintain trust of leadership team
  3. Work through ambiguity and uncertainty
  4. Maintain composure under pressure
  5. Manage large portions of projects
  6. Lead long-term projects
  7. Collaborate with people from different teams on various projects
  8. Complete high visibility assignments
  9. Create and administer own projects from start to finish
  10. Manage relationships and networks with others in the organization

Click here to view the full list of experiences.

 

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

Top Competencies   Top Experiences
     
  1. Communication: Verbal
  2. Leadership
  3. Accountability
  4. Ethical Behavior
  5. Adaptability
  6. Critical Thinking
  7. Interpersonal Skills
  8. Decision Making
  9. Results Driven
  10. Executing Strategy

Click here to view the full competency list.

 
  1. Earn and maintain trust of leadership team
  2. Manage relationships and networks with others in the organization
  3. Execute and deliver on results
  4. Create relationships with various organizational stakeholders
  5. Deliver presentations to stakeholders in the organization
  6. Collaborate with people from different teams on various projects
  7. Demonstrate ability to effectively handle ambiguous situations
  8. Work through ambiguity and uncertainty
  9. Maintain composure under pressure
  10. Lead people through change

Click here to view the full list of experiences.

 

The top competencies and critical experiences needed to succeed as an Executive in the Industry career path are presented below.

Top Competencies   Top Experiences
     
  1. Critical Thinking
  2. Accountability
  3. Ethical Behavior
  4. Interpersonal Skills
  5. Adaptability
  6. Leadership
  7. Executing Strategy
  8. Professionalism
  9. Strategic Thinking
  10. Decision making

Click here to view the full competency list.

 
  1. Complete high visibility assignment
  2. Earn and maintain trust of leadership team
  3. Work through ambiguity and uncertainty
  4. Manage relationships and networks with others in the organization
  5. Maintain composure under pressure
  6. Create relationships with various organizational stakeholders
  7. Deliver presentations to stakeholders in the organization
  8. Maintain high visibility with executives
  9. Execute and deliver on results
  10. Demonstrate ability to effectively handle ambiguous situations

Click here to view the full list of experiences.

 

 

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

Top Competencies   Top Experiences
     
  1. Critical Thinking
  2. Communication: Verbal
  3. Ethical Behavior
  4. Interpersonal Skills
  5. Accountability
 
  1. Execute and deliver on results
  2. Earn and maintain trust of leadership team
  3. Serve as a subject matter expert
  4. Work through ambiguity and uncertainty
  5. Collaborate with people from different teams on various projects

Job titles among I-O psychologists in Industry 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

 

HR Research Specialist
Project Assistant
Associate Consultant
Consultant

Expert Individual Contributor

 

Chief Scientist
Principal Research Scientist
Principal Consultant
Managing Research Scientist

Manager

 

Director of HR Operations
Manager
Team Leader
Program Leader

Manager of Managers

 

Area Director of HR
Senior Team Leader
Principal Consultant
Program Director

Executive

 

Vice President of HR
Chief HR Officer
Global HR Officer
Director
Executive Consultant
Senior Vice President

 

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