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Provide Inclusive Career Support

Learn how to provide inclusive career support to retain your employees and attract top candidates.

Brief Summary

Education and training cannot independently pave the road for building a career. There are essential building blocks that rely on the support and guidance of others such as internships, mentorships, recommendations, connections to first full-time jobs, and sponsorship for career advancement. 70% of jobs are not published publicly and up to 80% of posts are filled through networking. The informal networks, unwritten rules and social dynamics within an organization play a huge role in career advancement; when there is not equal access to these networks and resources, exclusion and barriers develop. Informal career advancement depends a lot on who you know, the guidance they give, and the advocacy they provide. These relationships are often impacted by affinity bias.

93% of employees who are planning to quit their job cite lack of professional growth opportunities as a top reason for their departure and 94% of employees say they’d stay at a job longer if they were offered career development. Career support also benefits the company by ensuring increased motivation, productivity, retention & profitability and by attracting top candidates.


Advancement reflects not only competency but opportunity, visibility and access to influential networks. We may believe that career support is equitable but data show that only 23% of talent from underrepresented groups receive feedback on career development, and only 7% have clarity on their career path.

To see who is benefiting from the current system, look at the patterns of who is advancing. The only demographic that consistently grows with seniority is white men: they occupy nearly double as many C-Suite positions as entry level spaces. Any other group drops as the pipeline goes up and women of color are strongly filtered out at senior levels. For every 100 men promoted to manager, only 87 women are promoted and 82 women of color.


Provide equitable access to training, developmental projects, and other resources to build skill sets required to advance. Connect historically underrepresented groups (HUGs) with capable managers, mentors, and sponsors that can advocate for their advancement. Implement a structured approach to career paths and promotions: set policies and practices that ensure equity in opportunity and promotions.

dei progress

Proposed Actions

  • Visibly invest in talent: employees want to know their employers care about their development. When they know that this is a priority, they’re more engaged.
  • Help managers be people developers: they must be involved in the goal-setting process, have conversations around potential and help set next steps so that employees see a career path for themselves.
  • Encourage employees to own their career but give them tools, support, guidance and clear career paths.
  • Support work-life effectiveness with flexibility in the where and when of work; define objective goals that recognize quality of contributions over time at a desk.
  • Create rotation programs that provide the opportunity for exposure to multiple positions in related departments.
  • Conduct clear succession planning (with DEI principles) for every critical position in your organization.

Valued Guidance

Implementation Plan

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