Mapping career paths in a major infrastructure industry
Wallace, M 2016, 'Mapping career paths in a major infrastructure industry', EURAM 2016, Paris, 1-4 June, European Academy of Management, Bruxelles, Belgium.
Research with an industry partner offers many challenges, especially when the industry is well established and much knowledge resides tacitly within its workforce or is documented in fragmented ways. The 160-year old rail industry in Australia is the case in point however the methods of inquiry are applicable to other industries. Prior research had indicated that there was an aging workforce in rail and that retention of mid-career staff, especially engineers and technicians, was of concern. The career development literature suggests that clear career paths and transparent educational, experience and competency requirements are one way an organisation or industry can attract and retain sought-after staff. To this end the rail industry tasked the researchers to map all current roles and career paths and develop an appropriate career pathways resource. This paper documents this research and its findings, informed by career path theory and an action research method, and offers reflections on undertaking cooperative, industry research in the field of careers.