Career vs Succession Planning: Difference and Comparison

Planning is a fundamental aspect of any human life. Planning is necessary, whether for education, a job, personal growth, or anything else.


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

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

Key Takeaways

  1. Career planning is the process of identifying and developing career goals and strategies. In contrast, succession planning identifies and prepares potential successors for critical organizational positions.
  2. Career planning is focused on individual development and growth, while succession planning is focused on organizational continuity and stability.
  3. Career planning is driven by individual initiative and ambition, while organizational needs and objectives drive succession planning.

Career Planning vs Succession Planning

Career planning involves identifying an individual’s strengths, interests, and goals, and developing a plan to help them achieve their career aspirations. Succession planning is a systematic process of identifying employees with the potential to fill key leadership positions in an organization.

Career Planning vs Succession Planning

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


Comparison Table

Parameter of ComparisonCareer PlanningSuccession Planning
What is the meaningCareer planning is a process where an individual plans 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 individuals.Succession Planning is for organizational strategy.
PositionsOne individual takes over his/her life and plans accordinglyVarious employees work for one position over some 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.

Consider their perspectives and which 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. The single entity will focus on his/her strength and simultaneously think about the opportunities that will enable them to grow and try to execute the steps to achieve its goals.

This way, they learn more about their abilities and 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 pro and con 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 the company to grow.

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

During succession planning, an organization will prioritise their objectives 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 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 and capabilities report prospective candidates must 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

Both individual and succession planning are different. One happens at a personal level and the next at an organisational level. 

Here is a 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 plans for it accordingly. Whereas succession planning is the betterment of the entire company, it includes many 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, succession planning is more about the company’s growth by bringing in a pool of potential candidates that will be the right fit for different critical roles. 
  5. Career planning is only about a single individual. However, succession planning is about the whole company. 
Difference Between Career Planning and Succession Planning
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