Career Pathfinder (LA County)

2018 Government Innovation Awards

Mapping your career, LA-style

Los Angeles County has made defining one’s government career path easy and kind of fun. It’s no Hollywood star, but you do get your own icon.

The county’s Career PathFinder system has gathered 30 years’ worth of data on how government employees — from administrative assistants to department leaders — have climbed up the job ladder. Users can zero in on a specific job they are interested in moving to and see what percentage of people have taken a particular path to get there.

“It demystifies the process of finding your career option in the county,” said Murtaza Masood, assistant director of the county’s Department of Human Resources. “With over 2,400 job types and…500 to 700 job openings a year across 35 departments — law enforcement to hospital system to human resources to council — it is easy to get lost and overwhelmed with all the options that are available. Career PathFinder allows you to plan a very focused approach to career planning.”

The system walks users through a series of questions, prompting them to select a job classification and asking whether they would like to access 15 or 30 years’ worth of data and whether they are seeking to move to or from a position. Once a user enters his or her name and chooses an icon, he or she can dive into the data.

“Once the system has that information, it can generate the up to 20 job classifications that are the most popular career moves from the user’s starting job,” said Marc Shartzer, the county’s principal human resources analyst and the one who came up with the idea for Career PathFinder. “Users evaluate the jobs presented based on popularity, salary, salary difference from starting job, number of current employees holding the job and reviewing the job descriptions. Users select the job they are most interested in pursuing next on their career path.”

For Career PathFinder 2.0, the team plans to add information on credentials — such as professional certifications, licenses or degrees — so that users can see what kind of training they might need for a position. Shartzer said there are also plans to make training videos available so people can obtain some of those credentials or develop a strategy for pursuing them.

Lisa Garrett, the county’s director of personnel, said Career PathFinder is innovative because it not only shows people how to reach a certain career goal, but also encourages them to consider paths they might not have thought of. “Sometimes we don’t see things as possibilities,” she added, “but then [we] see it and think, ‘So can I.’”

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