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Guide to Competencies to Prepare You for the Future of Work




Competency models are frameworks that act as guides for governments, schools, colleges, universities, employers, students, employees, and job seekers. Industry-specific competency models are produced by government agencies and trade groups to provide a starting point for the other stakeholders. Competency models are formulated for different industry sectors, roles, jobs, careers, or job groups. By expressing the specific skills and knowledge requirements of an industry, they create the roadmap for career growth. Organizations then use these industry models to produce their versions of the model. These models help us clearly express the behaviors, capabilities, knowledge, skills, and abilities required for jobs. Job seekers can prepare themselves for their industry of choice by using publicly available competency models. Learning and development content creators can use these models to create relevant training courses. Industry competency models also inform the competencies required for licenses, credentials, and certifications. Employees can upskill to be up-to-date with industry expectations for their role.


Macro View


As the diagram below shows a competency model brings many uses and benefits.


National and regional governments use industry models to inform their policy and funding decisions. Schools, colleges, and universities use models to drive curricular and the competencies required to win a credential. As stakeholder Awarding bodies are key. Awarding bodies are also known as test publishers or certification authorities. Awarding bodies use models to define the competencies requires for the certification programs that might be used to documents qualifications and grant credentials.


Competency models underpin critical HR functions such as writing job descriptions, recruiting, interviewing candidates, learning programs, employee development, performance management, selection, promotion, upskilling, certification, and so on.


Finally, individuals use competency models to inform their career choices.


Competency models are dynamic


Competency models are not stagnant management models. Industry and business experts regularly update these models based on economic, business, and technology changes. Competency models must remain current to inform stakeholders. Industry competency models provide governments, and regional economies, insights into trends to develop strategies, policies, and funding to grow the talent pool required for prosperity.

A Competency Model is a collection of defined competencies is known as a competency model. A competency describes what an individual should know and do to perform a specific role or a task. These are used to define one or more job roles within an industry or a particular organization.


Behaviors vs. Capabilities


There are two broad categories of competencies; behaviors define how an individual should behave, and capabilities represent what an individual should know or be able to do.


The actual number of behavioral competencies referenced with a competency model varies from organization to organization but is in the order of 4 to 15.


Capabilities define knowledge, skills, and abilities that an individual must be able to use to complete a task successfully. Sometimes granular levels of details define capabilities, and in some models, only high-level definitions are documented. The number of capabilities referenced with a competency model can range from tens to hundreds.


Competencies serve as a standard and define how to assess and measure performance via differentiating levels such as “Needs Improvement or Support”, “Meets Expectation”, and “Exceeds Expectation.” A good competency definition includes:

  1. Behaviors and capabilities required

  2. Defined benchmarks used to measure the competency

  3. Conditions in which an individual will have to perform

  4. Learning and development opportunities

Competence describes an individual’s ability to perform a specific role or a task successfully within a predefined workplace setting.


Defining a Behavioral Competency