According to the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP), the employment outlook for industrial organizational psychology is excellent. Job growth is expected to grow 26 percent through the year 2018. Industrial-organizational psychologists are in high demand because company leaders realize how they help boost employee retention, productivity and engagement rates.
The Problem of Employee Engagement
According to a recent poll by Gallup, up to 90 percent of employees are not engaged in their jobs throughout the world. Poor employee engagement levels come with a host of problems. This includes poor morale, which results in employees withdrawing from group efforts and personal responsibilities. Negatively engaged employees may withdraw valuable ideas and contributions in meetings. Open opposition may occur when certain employees interfere with other employees’ efforts or suggestions. This in turn lowers morale and increases stress within the workplace.
Similarly, silent undermining is when employees sabotage work and encourage others to disregard company goals and projects. Industrial-organizational psychologists help managers to link high performance to rewards, such as recognition and promotions, and help upper management become more engaged and supportive of subordinates. Thus, many industrial-organizational psychologists act as consultants who provide expert advice as they guide executives through difficult transitions, such as business mergers and expansions.
Weak productivity happens for many reasons. This includes poor supervision, delegation and communication. Many supervisors struggle to deal with managerial tasks while also maintaining a positive relationship with employees. Industrial-organizational psychologists train supervisors to become better organized and efficient. Supervisors who obsess with doing everything themselves will suffer burnout and become frustrated when employees fail to develop new skills and competencies. In addition to this, industrial-organizational psychologists work to identify inconsistent processes and rules.
If supervisors often change their expectations, employees will struggle to keep up while maintaining quality and productivity. Certain employees and supervisors may resist changes, so industrial-organizational psychologists are often called to provide change management support. They can teach others how to appreciate consistent and centralized procedures that reduce redundancies and confusion. Certain companies may experience inappropriate behavior that hinders productivity, says many industrial-organizational psychologists work with HR professionals to train employees on appropriate behavior standards.
Industrial-Organizational Psychology Research
One most important reason why the employment outlook for industrial organizational psychology is so good is because it comes with solid scientific research. These psychologists are trained how to design, implement and review customized psychological research. This means that companies will receive highly relevant findings that will help to them help solve human and organizational problems.
This includes the identification of training and development needs and the formulation, implementation and evaluation of training programs. These psychologists will be able to optimize work quality through coaching employees and organizational leaders. They will also help with establishing performance criteria and assessing consumer preferences and satisfaction. Those who want to become an industrial-organizational psychologist will need to pursue a graduate degree in order to obtain employment.
The employment outlook for industrial organizational psychology has never been better, so it’s a good idea to pursue a career in I-O psychology.