Why we reinvented the wheel

Learn about the Career Cluster Wheel and why we created it

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Creating the Career Clusters has not been a walk in the park – we’re trying to give people a new way to think and talk about their careers, and that’s never going to be an easy thing to do.

Careers are complex, dynamic, squiggly creatures that look different to everyone. We all bring unique expectations to our careers, and what looks like success to one person is abject failure to another. So trying to reduce this complexity into language that applies to today’s labour market, and will hopefully still be valid in 5, 10, 20 years time is tricky.

But visualisation can help.

Which is why we (re)invented the Wheel. It’s a model that allows us to focus on the centre, then explore outwards into sub-specialisations, without losing track of what goes where. The Career Cluster Wheel shows how each Cluster is a vibrant group of aligned individuals who work in common ways and share common values.

To create the wheel, we mapped the Clusters to some of the other key frameworks that exist, including the O*NET classifications, the ANZSCO lists, and the Australian Skills Classification, then drew conclusions about what terms to use and how to group things.

Rather than being broken into groups with roughly the same number of workers, or the same number of jobs in a classification, the sub-Clusters reflect unique traits which are similar to their related sub-Clusters, but not the same. So, for example, Informers are broken into four sub-Clusters:

  • Advise
  • Analyse
  • Educate, and
  • Guide

People working in each of these sub-Clusters share the traits of Informers – they use their highly developed specialist knowledge in their subject area to support others, but they do so in different ways. Those who Advise use their knowledge to support others in their decision making, while those who analyse use their knowledge to delve deeper into their subject area and create new knowledge along the way. Those who educate share their knowledge with others and pass along what they know, while those who Guide support others to solve their own problems with the ability to tap into the Informer’s knowledge base. Many Informers will be able to perform all of these tasks, and may fluctuate between them depending on the requirements of their role, while some Informers will generally stick to just one sub-Cluster.

This flexibility is replicated across all six Career Clusters, and many of us actually work across multiple Clusters – the point is, that people are not static and neither is the work we do, but the Cluster Wheel helps us to unpack it.

Here’s the Career Cluster Wheel, and you can head here to play with the interactive version.