Career Development Benchmarks: Tertiary

The Career Development Benchmarks: Tertiary are a self-review tool for tertiary organisations to assess and improve the quality of their career development programmes and services.

Purpose of the benchmarks

The benchmarks help tertiary organisations assess and improve their career development programmes

The tertiary benchmarks aspire to improve the quality and consistency of career development nationally, and provide a common understanding in the education sector of effective career development practice, to support successful student transitions.

Development of the benchmarks

The tertiary benchmarks are research-based and aligned to other education initiatives. Their development followed the same robust consultation processes we used in the development of the entire suite of benchmarks.

We are committed to regularly reviewing and updating all the benchmarks. See the development, references and bibliography sections of the secondary benchmarks for more information.

Structure of the benchmarks

The Career Development Benchmarks: Tertiary are one set in a suite of three benchmarks. Each of the three sets of benchmarks is structured to include four key dimensions for effective career development practice. The dimensions are integrated and designed to work together to achieve successful student outcomes.

Student career management competencies

The central focus of all the benchmarks is the outcomes dimension: student career management competencies. It describes the career management competencies students need to develop during their years of education to successfully manage their transitions.

The three other dimensions describe the inputs required to ensure career development programmes and services enable all students to build their career management competencies.

Organisation engagement

Organisation engagement describes how the organisation enables students to develop their career management competencies. It encourages a sound career development culture throughout the entire tertiary institution, backed by effective leadership.

Student engagement

Student engagement describes how students connect with career programmes and services in order to develop their career management competencies. It is about ensuring students have access to work programmes, events and current industry data, relevant to their programme of study.

Employer and industry engagement

Employer and industry engagement is any contact between tertiary organisations and employers and industry that enables students to develop their career management competencies. It requires organisations to take a planned, strategic, organisation-wide approach, backed by robust systems that are accessible to students, staff and employers.

Using the benchmarks

The benchmarks acknowledge organisations are self-managing. They are a flexible tool that enables organisations to use the self-review approach that best suits their needs.

An organisation-wide, team approach to the self-review process will ensure there are clear strategies and plans to enable effective career development integration into appropriate organisational structures.

We suggest you select one key dimension for review rather than work through all dimensions at one time.


Are you interested in sharing examples of effective practice in your organisation? We are looking for specific examples linked directly to the benchmarks so tertiary organisations can learn from each other about the different ways of developing practice. To share your story or give feedback, please email us at

Updated 13 Apr 2017