The career pathways framework refers to three tiers of management (EO – first line manager, HEO/SEO – middle manager and Grade 7 / 6 senior leaders). These are in line with the management levels outlined in the common cCurriculum that Civil Service Learning has developed to provide learning to managers to enable them to ‘manage others’ at EO level, ‘deliver performance’ at HEO/SEO level and ‘lead change’ at G7/G6 level.
Generally, the level of accountability, responsibility, span of people to manage and the size and scope of work to be managed will determine which grade the role falls in. In general, these factors have a greater span the higher the grade. For example:
Accountability can be to do with:
- the range of people / public affected by the work area being managed
- guidance, policies and legislation covered
- level of autonomy to manage the work and be answerable for results and decisions.
- the breadth, range and scale of work
- complexity and time required
- importance to the department.
Management of people:
- leadership of multiple teams, sites, regions or groups
- the number of locations / span of control and size of direct and total numbers managed
- delivery of change.
Line management and non-line management careers
As operational careers reach Executive Officer (EO) level, other than caseworker-type job roles, they begin to involve management of people, work, and resources. For some people, this will be exactly where they want to be for the challenge and responsibility of workforce planning, financial management, and developing service delivery. For others, a management career is not where they want to be; they enjoy the job satisfaction of making a difference to the public, making a reality of government policies, and managing their own performance rather than others.
Clearly not everyone can be an operational manager and around 60% of all civil servants work in the Administrative Assistant (AA) – EO grade helping customers every day. All roles within the operational delivery profession provide valuable experience and competences which can also support movement into other professions, for example, policy.
The career pathways framework shows management/leadership and non-line management (customer service) career pathways to highlight the various options. There are possibilities for horizontal, vertical, and diagonal progression if you choose a non-line management career. Beyond the EO grade all roles involve developing management and leadership skills. In many cases this involves managing people; however, there are a small number of roles at HEO and SEO level where the focus is on managing work and resources without necessarily involving line management responsibilities. This framework only focuses on non-line management careers up to EO level to reflect the common position.
Generic role profiles
Within each of the job families, there are eight general job role profiles ranging from Administration Assistant to Senior Operational Leader. In your own business area, you can probably think of more than eight. These are intended to provide a high level generic view of what these types of operational roles entail in any of the departments. They are intended to compliment but not replace any department specific role profiles.
The profession has focused on the main key roles because there are just too many to cover individually. Some are only slightly different but some are very specialist roles. Further information on specific job roles may be available in your department.
Role profiles provide helpful information about each generic role, for example:
- which job family the role belongs to
- the purpose and key responsibilities of the role
- any minimum requirements that apply
- the skills and competences (both professional and core to the Civil Service) that you will need to demonstrate in order to do your job to a professional standard.
Roles profiles don’t provide:
- salary details
- a description of the actual job
- locations of jobs.
These will all be found in a vacancy information sheet.
You can use role profiles to:
- get a flavour of what working at that level or in that job family would be like
- understand the skills and competences you will need to be effective in each role
- identify areas that you need to develop to get to where you want to be
- identify key work objectives, steps to achieve them and learning and development activities.
Having clear career goals to aim for can help personal motivation and a greater sense of engagement which in turn can only be good for your customers.
Planning your career – your choice
The information is provided by the profession to help you:
- plan your future career in operations and to take control over your short, medium, and long term career goals
- get a better understanding of what it is like to work in other roles, to understand what standards and competences are required in other roles and to broaden your horizons beyond your own office, agency, and department
- develop further as an Operational Delivery professional whether you don’t want to be too far from where you are now or whether you want to get to the top of the profession.
Discussion with Line Manager
Hopefully, you will decide that a career in operations is for you. You should discuss your career with your line manager outlining where you would like to get to and how you would like to develop.
You should come to a common understanding and agreement about how to get to the next career point. That means understanding exactly where you are now and what areas you need to develop and work on. It means agreeing areas for development and identifying opportunities to improve your skills and competences, regularly reviewing progress and timescales.
Taking these steps will help you to position yourself correctly; to develop your career wherever it might take you when opportunities arise for horizontal, vertical, or diagonal movement in the same job family or across job families, in the same team, agency, and department or across Government.
Using the career pathways tools
Developing a career plan and using this career pathways information is not mandatory. Some people are quite happy where they are at the moment and in some cases for their entire career but there is a growing need for civil servants to be flexible and to develop professional skills so they are equipped for the changing environment. Sometimes, we have little or no control over some changes which affect our career. Using the career pathways framework can help you adapt to changing times and keep you broadly focused on where you want to be.
Feel free to dip in and out of this information as you please throughout your time working in operations as your situation and circumstances change.
There are options to develop a line management or non-line management career.
The profession encourages you to link your development plan and key work objectives to career goals but it is for you to agree with your line manager.
The profession encourages you to find out more about specific operational jobs in your job family and other job families across the departments because if you don’t know, you don’t have the full range of opportunities or choice.
It is up to you – it is your career.
Career pathways downloads
- Operational delivery career pathways framework [PDF 340kb]
- Operational delivery career pathways glossary [PDF, 16kb]
- Operational delivery cross-government grades or equivalent [PDF, 32kb]
- Generic cross-government roles and jobs [PDF, 24kb]