Career in Industrial/Organisational Psychology

5 min read

Education & Career Trends: April 16, 2024
Curated by the Knowledge Team of  ICS Career GPS

An Industrial Psychologist works with the Human Resources department to observe employees and their work environment to measure elements, such as job satisfaction and performance.

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Industrial and organisational psychology applies psychological principles and theories to the workplace. Industrial Psychology is also known as Industrial-Organisational Psychology or I-O Psychology. This growing field focuses on improving and increasing workplace flow and productivity. Industrial Psychologists evaluate corporate climate by studying employee behaviour, productivity, and attitudes.

They provide training and guidance to leadership, management, and team members. Industrial Psychologists collaborate with corporate leadership to evaluate workplace behaviour, create policies, direct training sessions, and develop company strategy.

What is an Industrial Psychologist responsible for?

Industrial Psychologists apply psychological principles by studying individual behaviour and an organisation’s climate. Based on their findings, they work to improve individual job performance and the overall health of their team members.

An Industrial Psychologist works with the Human Resources department to observe employees and their work environment to measure elements, such as job satisfaction and performance. Employee training, performance evaluations, and the company’s hiring practices and techniques are also considered.  By evaluating each employee’s motivation and productivity, an Industrial Psychologist can help make the company a better place to work.

On the job, an Industrial Psychologist can expect to:

  •         Use psychological research in the workplace.
  •         Help businesses hire qualified employees.
  •         Train and motivate the labour force.
  •         Collaborate with the Human Resources Department.
  •         Provide a consultative role in the organisation.
  •         Assess employee job performance.
  •         Improve organisational structure.
  •         Increase business efficiency.
  •         Aid with corporate transitions, such as mergers and staff realignment.
  •         Research consumer behaviour.
  •         Provide ergonomic consultation to maximise performance and improve comfort.
  •         Enhance the quality of life for employers and employees.

Where does an Industrial Psychologist work?

Industrial Psychologists apply scientific research in a wide range of workplace settings. Some work in the manufacturing industry, healthcare facilities, commercial enterprises, or labour unions.

Many Industrial Psychologists work as consultants or hold academic positions at universities. They qualify to work as trainers, coaches, and facilitators, working directly with a company’s Human Resources Department. They may be hired by an organisation to assist with resolving a specific problem.

What Career Options are available to an Industrial Psychologist?

An Industrial Psychologist can expect to find a career in the following areas:

1. Human Resources Organisational Development (OD) Manager
  • The OD Manager plans and coordinates company initiatives across the organisation by developing and implementing HR programmes company-wide.
  • This position is directly responsible for creating Human Resource policies to attract and keep valuable employees and help the organisation achieve business and operational goals.
2. Talent Management Specialist
  • A talent management specialist develops and implements programmes intended to train supervisors and leaders in an organisation.
  • These specialists work closely with organisation management to understand what skills, knowledge, and experience they need to excel in a leadership position. 
3. Behaviour Analyst
  • This position focuses on behaviour that can be observed and measured.
  • A behaviour analyst focuses on describing, understanding, predicting, and changing behaviour.
  • They consider factors such as biological and environmental influences.
  • Behaviour analysts may research consumer trends for marketing companies or other industries interested in what influences consumer decisions. 
4. Human Resources Practice Manager
  • Human resources practice managers specialise in talent selection, performance management, and workplace diversity.
  • They train company managers and develop plans for workplace diversity.
  • They specialise in employee recruitment and retention. 
5. Consultant
  • A consultant meets with executives and others in leadership positions to review organisational development, training, management changes, staff evaluations, talent recruitment, and issues related to pay and benefits.
  • A consultant may run their own consulting practice or work for a larger consulting firm. 
6. Research Analyst
  • A research analyst organises research projects and works closely with project teams.
  • They analyse data and make recommendations based on their findings.
  • They may write articles for academic journals and trade magazines.

What skills are required in Industrial/Organisational Psychology?

Industrial/Organisational Psychologists should have a strong background in psychology. They must possess a firm understanding of psychological theory and understand human behaviour. Industrial/Organisational Psychologists must have a solid understanding of social and cultural issues and they need to have strong teamwork skills. They must be critical thinkers and utilise logic and reason to identify employee and employer strengths and weaknesses.

Industrial/Organisational Psychologists should possess emotional intelligence and the ability to respond compassionately to diverse personalities. They must also gather and review data and communicate well with employers and employees. They should be able to evaluate how different personality types work or don’t work well with one another.

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(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the article mentioned above are those of the author(s). They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of ICS Career GPS or its staff.)

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