Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Prof-Technical & Technology Education
Individual/Career Development Plans and resulting Individual/Career Development Programs are essential in outlining career goals to be accomplished and steps or resources needed to achieve those goals. Lack of planning and engagement in development activities is seen as one of the factors affecting job fit which further affects performance and productivity resulting in a skills gap. Bailey (2005), suggests that career planning and ongoing skills development is essential so young professionals should be generalists, as well as specialize in at least one area. The good news is that, in all professions, all of these efforts on career development is often rewarded. In planning careers, individuals assess themselves to understand who they are, what they are interested in and steps/resources needed to reach their interest. In developing your career or yourself, an individual builds on the plans he has mapped out for his career by acquiring knowledge, learning skills and undergoing trainings that will improve him as a person or as an employee. That way, you know what you are good in or have interest in and you develop yourself on your strengths thereby creating less room for uncertainties, deficiencies and career shuffling or loss of interest half way into your career. With much knowledge and experience, you become an expert or a professional creating opportunity for further growth and career satisfaction.
Ituma & Simpson (2007), propose that “Congruence between what an individual would like to do (anchor) and what he is actually doing(work environment) is thought to lead to positive career 4 outcome such as job effectiveness, job satisfaction and high retention while incongruence is likely to lead to job dissatisfaction and high turnover”. p.1
People who have plans are unlikely to move from job to job. Frequent changes in careers or jobs usually means less years of experience on each job, less time or efforts invested in developing oneself in each field, less skills acquired on each job and ultimately, less expertise on each job. Harrington & Hall (2007) found out that the difference between a job and a career lie in the amount of time, money, commitment, knowledge and trainings invested. In a career, you invest so much but in a job you don’t. Realistically, no one will invest so much in a place where he doesn’t expect to spend so much time and no one will know a place where he is likely to spend so much time if he doesn’t know who he is, what his interests are and what it takes to achieve his aim. Consequently, if you don’t have a plan, you’ll likely end up having multiple jobs and no career or specified field of expertise (career development). To this need, individuals are advised to take responsibility for their own career development in a more uncertain environment, where career paths go beyond the boundaries of a single organization (Hall, 1996) and where there is an emphasis on portable skills and on meaningful work.
Globally, employers seek experts not just employees. According to United States authors Harrington & Hall (2007), “The changing nature of technology has also affected the form and function of career development. Today, organizations put a premium on people who can adapt and learn quickly” (p120). The continued by saying “The employment contract between individuals and their employers has changed, and job security is a thing of the past”. As the world gets advanced technologically and otherwise, a deficit in skills gap is a major cause of lack of expertise which may be caused by minimal knowledge or skills in several jobs and no professional knowledge/skills in a particular field. This has negative consequences on job performance and outcome because 5 everywhere, people are improving their skills every day so employees have to meet up to stay employable. Developing countries, including Nigeria, face insufficiencies in expertise; employees have refused to grow on a particular career, they move to any field in which they are qualified for as long as they are paid better. Excluding the poor economic situation of the country and other similar reasons, another cause for these moves may be because they have no knowledge of how career planning and development can help in shaping their future (which is usually a role of the academic institutions, as the first step of knowledge and acceptance, to instill in students before they become graduates) or they simply do not perceive it as appropriate for them. In order to fully engage in planning and development programs, employees must first perceive it as relevant. For this research, employed graduates of Federal University of Technology Owerri, Nigeria, have been chosen, to understand their perception of these plans/programs as relevant to the development of their professional careers and the reason for these perceptions.
Njoku, Uchenna, "Federal University of Technology Owerri, Nigeria: a case study of the perceived relevance of individual/career development planning." (2011). Electronic Thesis Collection. Paper 131.