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10 Popular I/O Psychology Careers

What does a career in the field of industrial and organizational psychology look like? We've outlined 10 common I/O psychology careers for you to explore.

Not all psychologists are created equal. If you think pursuing a psychology degree means you’ll be destined to counsel patients lying on a couch in therapy, think again. Psychology is a broad field of study with a vast array of specializations and career opportunities.

One distinct field is industrial and organizational psychology, otherwise referred to as I/O psychology. I/O psychology applies theory to real-world workplace situations like employee retention, engagement, company culture, and team building. But what does a career in this field actually look like? Well, we’ve listed 10 common I/O psychology careers for you to explore below.


1. Human Resources Management

If you prefer the human side of I/O psychology, you may consider a career in human resources management. People working in human resources (HR) interact with people throughout an organization on a day-to-day basis.

Their responsibilities can range from recruiting new job candidates to working through internal office issues between personnel. An HR representative can be involved in the interviewing and hiring process, employee training procedures, mediating workplace conflicts, and serving as an overall representative for individuals in the company.

Overall, a career in HR will allow you to use your knowledge of I/O psychology in working to improve the overall organizational culture of the company you may work for.


2. Workforce Insights Analyst

While a career in HR typically positions you in a people-facing role, a workforce insights analyst’s role is more data-driven. It involves using your knowledge of quantitative research and evaluation methods, like surveys and reviews, to analyze employee performance, management processes, and workflows.

A workforce insights analyst’s goal is to use data gathered from employees to improve productivity, training, and overall company satisfaction.

In this position, an analyst may provide a leadership team with recommendations on work assignments, compensation, organizational styles, and more.


3. Professional Development Consultant

A professional development consultant provides leadership training for those seeking to hone useful workplace skills that can help advance their careers, which can be in a variety of fields. Additionally, a professional development consultant may lead professional development workshops that can be performed one-on-one or in a team.

This role can exist within a company to help current employees realize their full potential or can be outsourced to an outside “consultant” role for people personally seeking new positions within their company or looking to make a career transition.


4. Organizational Effectiveness Manager

An organizational effectiveness manager typically works with senior leadership and management teams to set organizational goals, refine management processes, and create a clear roadmap for achieving a company’s vision.

These managers can work full-time within a company or work as outside consultants for a variety of clients. An organizational effectiveness manager can use knowledge of effective evaluation and survey methods to gain insight from employees and get a feel for a company’s internal culture and structure; then use the data collected in conjunction with I/O psychology principles to work on a top-down strategy in an effort to improve things like employee satisfaction and efficiency.


5. Executive Coaching

Executive coaches help individuals and teams improve their workplace performance, usually at the C-Suite level. They may be hired to work directly with an individual, or with the entire company. Despite the name of this position, executive coaches do occasionally work with more than just executives. These professionals consult with clients to improve management and organizational skills as well.

In this position, coaches must continuously assess and assign strategies to help clients improve their professional development and performance. The principles of I/O psychology are particularly present in this position, as executive coaches must analyze the conditions of a specific workplace to effectively coach clients’ performance.


6. Internal & External Management Consulting

Management consultants work to provide businesses with outside perspectives and strategies for improvement. With higher-than-average job growth, management consulting is becoming a more common career path for those in the field of I/O psychology.

Management consultants advise managers on how to make organizations more profitable through reduced costs and increased revenues. They use concepts and principles from I/O psychology to determine how and why businesses are behaving inefficiently and then propose solutions to enhance business outcomes.


7. Team Development Manager

These professionals apply the principles of I/O psychology to analyze team productivity and create training materials that can drive positive development. They also help design, implement, and conduct performance evaluations and in addition to designing orientation programs for new hires.

Team development managers typically work within a company. There is some creative liberty in this position, as these managers apply I/O psychology to their business to create personalized plans for development.


8. Change Management Professional

Change management professionals specialize in streamlining company transitions. They strategize to optimize business resources, improve communication, and act as organizational leaders.

To complete these tasks, change management professionals use I/O psychology to identify transition needs and strategies. They must be prepared to take on short-term leadership roles and create personalized transition plans.


9. Strategy Development Professional

Many businesses hire strategy development professionals to drive long-term growth through implementing innovative strategy specific to their industry. In this role, professionals create and execute strategies to expand and/or stabilize a business.

Strategy development professionals must be attuned to their specific industry trends and business prospects.


10. Staffing & Recruiting Manager

Successfully recruiting and training new employees is paramount to any business. Staffing and recruiting managers are in charge of all hiring and training processes, thus making them instrumental to company success.

Staffing and recruiting managers can apply I/O psychology methods to ensure the right applicants are selected and that employee retention remains high. Paying close attention to performance, these professionals are also generally in charge of any employee firings.


Interested in pursuing an I/O psychology degree?

No matter which of these career paths interest you, a degree in I/O psychology can help get you there.

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology offers certificate, M.A., and Ph.D. programs in I/O psychology. Fill out the form below to request more information, or you can apply today through our application portal.


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