A dual career ladder is a career development plan that allows upward mobility for employees without requiring that they be placed into supervisory or managerial positions. This type of program has typically served as a way to advance employees who may have particular technical skills or education but who are not interested in nor suited to management.
Dual career ladder programs are more common in scientific, medical, information technology, and engineering fields, or in fields that typically exhibit one or more of the following characteristics:
- Substantial technical or professional training and expertise beyond the basic level
- Rapid innovation
- Credentials or licenses
To be effective, a dual career ladder program must be well managed, as the program can become a “dumping ground” for lower-performing managers. In addition, there may be resentment from employees not chosen for the program or from managers who feel that dual career employees are receiving similar pay as managers without the added burdens of supervising staff.