Industrial/Organizational Psychology Career Explained

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Coinciding Industrial/Organizational Psychology Career MBTI® Type: ENFP.


Courtesy of Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee/

As the new millennium has changed the global workforce, new demands for cutting edge management techniques are needed to attain maximum efficiency in the workplace. This is especially true with the economic downturn the world has experienced over the last five years, and with this need, the up and coming study of Industrial-Organizational Psychology has been growing at a rate faster then almost any other occupation. The need for students, managers, and employees trained in this field are at the forefront of organizational growth and sustainability.

Industrial-Organizational (I-O) Psychology is defined as the systematic study of the workplace, workforces and organizations.

The main focus of an I-O Psychologist is to improve organizational efficiency and effectiveness, and therefore company output, by improving the execution, fulfillment and welfare of its employees. I-O psychologists study employee conduct, behavior and attitudes in the attempt to develop and better employee functionality and behaviorism in these areas.

Industrial-Organizational positions vary from working as private and public consultants, and organizational positions including human resource departments and academic and research based positions.

Some of the daily tasks in the I/O field include:

  • Creating and carrying out training programs
  • Conducting personnel assessments, assessing employee differences and learning valuations
  • Implementing research studies of department and occupational environments, company structures, team interactions, team and individual motivation, communication methods, company functioning and morale.
  • Appearing in company lawsuits as expert witnesses
  • Creating interview practices and assessments to test for expertise, and interests for employee selection, assignment, promotion and retention.
  • Writing articles and reports to communicate research discoveries to others within the organization or to outside agencies.
  • Assessing job candidates
  • Conducting employee engagement and satisfaction surveys
  • Providing performance feedback and coaching

According to The U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Outlook Handbook 2012-21013 Edition, the projected growth for the Industrial-Organizational Psychology field is growing faster then the average occupation-29% faster to be exact. The median wage for this career in 2012 was $83,580 annually.

However, it is important to point out the competitive educational requirements in this occupational area. 53% of persons employed in this area hold a doctorate degree, while 47% hold a masters degree in a related field. So one must be highly qualified to attain a position and grow in this area.

Furthermore, regarding the I/O field, The American Psychological Association (APA) states that “in a down economy, psychologists who can help companies make sound selection and human resource decisions, boost employee engagement and help people improve their work performance are in hot demand”.

The APA continues to state that:

“It is no surprise that the U.S Department of Labor estimates that the field of I/O Psychology will grow 26 percent by 2018” (novotney, A).

The following skills are used by I/O Psychologists in private practice and in the organizational public sector:

  • Active Listening
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Complex problem solving
  • Judgment Decision Making
  • Speaking Well
  • Critical Thinking
  • Systems Analysis
  • Systems Evaluation
  • Writing Well
  • Monitoring

The opportunity for a successful career in Industrial-Organization Psychology is vast, however there are a great many things to consider prior to making a decision to embark into this field. Firstly, the educational requirements take timely and financial commitment. The skills required are not for everyone, and the daily tasks are challenging. It is important to take the above mentioned items in this write-up into consideration, though if you believe you can commit to a career in this field, your occupational future can certainly be a bright one and there are a great many universities offering both master’s and Doctorate degrees in this area of study. Once your schooling is completed, an entry-level job should pay well and you will be on your way to a long and industries career in a growing occupation with a bright outlook towards the future.


1. Novotney, Amy (Gradpsych. 2011).

2. Summary Report for Industrial-Organizational Psychologists

U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-2013 Edition.

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