The Rise of Career Frameworks in Canada

As Canadian organizations look to energize and retain talent, the use of career frameworks could more than double

A growing number of Canadian organizations are taking action in the fight to win, and retain, top talent. As competition heats up, some leading employers have embraced a career framework strategy to help them pull ahead.  

Mercer’s Career Frameworks in Talent Management Survey reveals that while 34% of Canadian organizations have a partial framework, an additional 47% plan to implement one — nearly a 140% increase. Though Canada has been slower to adopt career frameworks as a comprehensive solution to some of their most formidable talent management challenges compared to some other countries, change may be right around the corner. 


Do you currently have a career framework in place?

Mercer’s 2015 Career Frameworks in Talent Management Survey
* Not all respondents answered

Many organizations are looking to either refresh existing frameworks or implement a new one to get ahead of change — and the competition. As many as eight in 10 Canadian organizations have either implemented a framework or plan to. And those who say they do not plan to implement a career framework (18% in Canada) point to internal barriers (time, resources, leadership buy-in) rather than their opposition to the tool.

Engaging employees in the process, giving them ownership of their success and providing a framework that shows them how to get where they want to go is essential. Those who have implemented a career framework say that it works; in fact, 76% worldwide say they are seeing a positive return on their investment. 


Career Frameworks clearly outline the relevant career levels and job families within an organization, show various career progression paths, and help employees understand career options, development opportunities, and impact of various careers on the company’s business plan. 

Implementing any kind of change in an organization can be challenging, but the right approach can benefit everyone. To get the most out of a framework, organizations should periodically make updates to ensure the tool is keeping with internal and external changes. 

And remember, communication is key. Culturally, an organization should clearly and repeatedly demonstrate its commitment  through employee communications and ensure engagement at all levels, from the most senior executives to the frontlines. 


Managers play a vital role, as they present the strategy and tools to their direct reports, communicate its advantages, counsel employees, ensure departmental buy-in, and more. To enhance user experience and manager participation, consider the following: 

  • Conduct annual training sessions (and continual communication) with managers to ensure they remain committed and are updated on the latest technology, company messaging, and more.
  • Demonstrate benefits to all involved, from the employee to the manager to the company.
  • Outline transparency and success by sharing periodic reports/data of internal labor movement, increased retention, and enhanced job satisfaction.
  • Show leadership commitment by ensuring they participate with their direct reports and frequently communicate its importance and benefits to the organization.
  • Include career frameworks participation and success in managers’ annual review. 


  1. Does your internal labour market analysis continue to show more employees leaving than entering key positions?
  2. Are competitors winning the employment brand game?
  3. Does HR seem to be constantly searching for talent to fill the positions identified as key to business objectives?
  4. Is there evidence, either data driven or anecdotal, that employees in key positions are looking to leave?
  5. Do employees seem tired, listless, without drive?


The 2015 Career Frameworks in Talent Management Survey was conducted in partnership with Human Capital Media Advisory Group, the research arm of Talent Management and Workforce magazines.

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