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I-O Flowchart

11/23/2016-

by Barbara Ruland, Communications Specialist

New Website Tool Provides Career Planning Guidance

The Careers Study Subcommittee of SIOP’s Professional Practice Committee (PPC) has just published a new, graphical career planning tool that both students and professionals working in I-O psychology will find useful and user-friendly. 

The Career Paths for Industrial-Organizational Psychologists pages are found in the “Jobs” dropdown menu on SIOP’s website and provide analysis of four main employment sectors in which I-O psychologists work.

Click the name of a sector—Academia, Consulting, Government, or Industry—to reveal a career flow chart, along with discussion of typical job levels, competencies required for success within each level, and critical experiences that are helpful in developing those competencies for that sector.  

More specific information is available for each job level within a sector and is accessed by clicking on the appropriate job-level box in the flow chart.  A higher-level view of similarities among different sectors is available through a link at the bottom of the page.

PPC Careers Study Subcommittee chair Josh Quist and Samantha Chau began working with SIOP’s web content specialist, Jim Rebar, early in 2016 to translate the results of a multiyear Careers Study project to graphical form for wider access on the SIOP website.  

Since the project’s inception, the primary goal has been to help SIOP members better understand the career paths and career opportunities that are open to industrial-organizational psychologists.  The study was designed to provide structured career information that professional psychologists can use to manage their own careers and to help executives manage I-O psychology staff. 

It addition, the results provide information useful to students and faculty members in helping to plan graduate studies and curriculum for future I-O psychologists.  

Chau said her favorite feature of the resource is the fact that early-career I-O psychologists can use the information “to identify competencies required for progression in their careers and to help set career goals.”

The Careers Study was one of the first attempts undertaken to understand and define career models and benchmark career experiences for I-O psychologists in all employment sectors. 

The study does more than just create benchmarks and models, however.  According to Rob Silzer, SIOP’s Professional Practice Officer, the Career Survey has helped increase credibility and respect for a large segment of the I-O psychology practitioner community.    

Silzer first proposed the Careers Study, along with the Practitioner Needs Survey, in 2009 when he was chair of the Professional Practice Committee. 

“It went nowhere at the time,” he said. “And at the time we did successfully launch the first Practitioner Needs Survey.”   

Rich Cober, Tracy Kantrowitz, Michael Trusty, and other members of the PPC picked up the project, and in 2012 the Careers Study Subcommittee put out an RFP for the Careers Study. 

“Key SIOP members stepped up and ran with it,” Silzer said, “and I was delighted that our combined effort over the years has resulted in a critical contribution to our profession!”

Mark Poteet, immediate past chair of the subcommittee, added, “Certainly this project has had an array of SIOP’s best and brightest working on it.” 

Other members who have contributed to the project include Cristina Banks, Joan Brannick, Beth Bynum, Gary Carter, Dennis Doverspike, Joy Oliver, and Alexandra I. Zelin.

The work is continuing, with a Phase 2 study begun in April of this year. Chau said current plans are to include the completed Phase 2 information on the website. The second phase will add more depth to the investigation of critical experiences and examine how I-O professionals transition between employment sectors. 

Phase 2 will also investigate the skills and experiences that help sole proprietor (independent consultant) I-O practitioners thrive. Silzer pointed out that independent practitioners are a growing part of the profession.

“They don’t report to anybody, they report to themselves,” he said. “So they have to manage their own business as well as manage their work and their clients, and it’s a difficult challenge.   It’s really a very different career path from other career opportunities in our profession.”

Watch for updates on Phase 2 during the coming months. Additional information about the Phase 1 study can be found in a series of TIP articles. The introductory article was published in October 2014.  Details about academic careers appeared in January 2015. Consulting is covered in April 2015, industry in July 2015, and government in October 2015.