Difference Between Career Planning and Succession Planning

Planning is a fundamental aspect of any human life. Whether it is for education, job, personal growth, or anything else, planning is a must.

Without it, it will become challenging to shape our life. Planning, in simple language, means, thinking beforehand and have a proper agenda about life.

Take career as an example; we all think about it, plan for it, and simultaneously, set specific goals to achieve it.

Career Planning vs Succession Planning

The main difference between career planning and succession planning is that in career planning, an individual thinks about what he/she is good at, and then chooses a path that will allow them to reflect on it. In succession planning, it is essential to have potential employees on board who will look after the organization and enable the company to grow through adequate planning.

Career Planning vs Succession Planning

Since we have given you a gist about what career and succession planning is, read on more to know about both of them in detail. 


Comparison Table Between Career Planning and Succession Planning (in Tabular Form)

Parameter of ComparisonCareer PlanningSuccession Planning
What is the meaningCareer planning is a process where an individual plan about their career goals and ways to achieve them.  Through the Succession planning process, an organization finds a critical position and potential candidates to fill the positions and help the company grow.
What is the subset?Career managementSuccession management
What is it for?Career Planning is for individualSuccession Planning is for organizational strategy
PositionsOne individual takes over his/her life and plans accordinglyVarious employees work for one position over a period of time
EnsuresSuccess in an individual’s careerThe continuous growth of leadership skills for all the key positions


What is Career Planning?

Career planning is not difficult to understand. It is a process where an individual will think about what she/he is good at.

Think about the different prospective they might have, and which one would be the most suitable depending on their skills and abilities.

Career planning happens on an individual level.

Career management is involved in career planning, where the single entity will focus on his/her strength and simultaneously think about the opportunities that will enable them to grow and will try to execute on the steps to achieve their goals.

This way, they get to know more about their abilities, skills, identify them, and finally plan for them accordingly.

  1. In career planning, the first thing that an individual does is think about their current career status.
  2. In the next step, he/she tries to understand what they are good at. This will include their interest, abilities, skills, and more that will match with different open positions. 
  3. For the third step, an individual will then scrutinize different available options.
  4. Then comes the concrete career planning layout where they will put their planning into proper action. 
  5. Even though they have found a few good options that suit their capabilities, skillsets, and abilities, they must remain flexible. 
  6. Finally, after calculating every pros and cons during their career planning journey, they implement the plan. 
Career Planning

What is Succession Planning?

Succession planning is not about just one individual, but about the whole company.

It comprises of succession management, where the company focuses on the critical positions that are vacant and replace them with a highly confident and skillful individual that will allow their company to grow.

This way, the organization gets to streamline the functioning of their company.

During succession planning, an organization will pay the utmost importance to their objective and prepare a layout to execute them. 

Succession planning will include different managers, as well as executives, to identify the potential candidates for the organization, access their capabilities, and hire those who are the right fit for the organization.

Succession planning includes five robust steps, which most of the companies follow, here they are:

  1. The first step is to identify, as well as analyze the different critical roles they have in their organization and plan appropriately to replace the critical open positions. 
  2. Clearly define the motivational along with the capabilities report that prospective candidates need to have to fill those critical roles. 
  3. The third is to assess different potential candidates based on their future orientation. 
  4. Now is the time to identify all the prospective candidates based on their credentials, which will be the right fit for the organization. 
  5. Assisting the new employees to be ready for their new roles after understanding their set of experiences. 
Succession Planning

Main Differences Between Career Planning and Succession Planning

Clearly, both individual and succession planning are different. One happens at a personal level and the next at an organization level. 

Here is the simple explanation of the main difference between career and succession planning:

  1. Career planning is more about individual planning, where a person thinks about his/her career, and plan for it accordingly. Whereas succession planning is the betterment of the entire company, and therefore it comprises the inclusion of a lot of different people. 
  2. In career planning, a person takes career management under consideration, but in succession planning,
  3. succession management plays a critical role. 
  4. In career planning, an individual tries to identify his/her skillsets, interests, and abilities that will allow them to find the right career, letting them grow individually. However, in succession planning, it is more about the growth of the company by bringing in a pool of potential candidates that will be the right fit for different critical roles. 
  5. In career planning, it is only about a single individual. However, succession planning is about the whole company. 
Difference Between Career Planning and Succession Planning



Both career and succession planning is necessary. Even if both of them are different, but they are both critical.

Career planning is the first step that an individual takes to ensure that they get the best opportunity in terms of jobs.

However, when it comes to succession planning, the company becomes responsible for finding the right individual who will be the perfect fit for their critical positions.

In succession planning, the entire organization is benefited, but in career planning, it is only about the individual. 

Key Differences Between Career Planning and Succession Planning (PDF Format)

Download the key differences in .PDF format, to read or print them later:

Difference Between Career Planning and Succession Planning



  1. https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/09556219110144822/full/html
  2. https://journals.lww.com/jonajournal/fulltext/2009/12000/Healthcare_Succession_Planning__An_Integrative.12.aspx
  3. https://psycnet.apa.org/record/1983-22205-001
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