Career Development

Career Development Investing in developing talent

Our business success depends on our people. That’s why we are dedicated to attracting talented employees and giving them opportunities and reasons to achieve their work and life goals at Gap Inc. 

We strive to develop a diverse pipeline of talent and give our employees opportunities to learn and develop, stay challenged, take on new roles and adopt greater responsibility. We know our current and prospective employees expect a path to new opportunities that rewards them for their performance and value contribution. Offering our employees challenging work that tests and builds their capabilities not only sets them up for success, it makes our business stronger and more innovative. 

Advancing Careers

We strive to develop a diverse pipeline of talent and provide employees with opportunities to learn, grow and take on greater responsibility.

As a retailer that values hands-on experience in our stores, we give store employees opportunities to take on higher-level field and corporate positions. The best testaments to the opportunities we provide are our employees who started out at stores and rose through the ranks to senior management positions; approximately 18% of Gap Inc. executives at the vice president level and above started their careers working with product and customers in stores. 

Many people stay at the company or return because of the opportunities and range of roles that our brands and business provide. It’s common for our employees to work for multiple brands and functions during their careers. Employees at the manager and higher levels average more than seven years with the company, and more than 16% of employees return for new challenges and opportunities. We launched a revamped careers site and a new careers blog, as well as an alumni program to connect past, current and future talent. 

We also recognize the need to look outside our organization to make sure we find the best people for each role. We aim to balance our internal promotions and external hires to achieve the most productive mix of diverse talent, functional and subject matter expertise and organizational fit.

Advancing Careers - At A Glance
Advancing careers

Our Approach to Learning and Development

Our learning and development model is based on two core beliefs: Everyone has the capacity to learn and grow, and the best opportunities for learning take place on the job.  

In 2014, we did away with our traditional annual review process for employee performance in favor of a new system called “GPS—Grow. Perform. Succeed.” With a focus on continuous learning, GPS uses frequent performance conversations and coaching sessions to give employees regular feedback and guidance on their work and development opportunities. 

Because we believe most growth happens on the job, we use a 70-20-10 model for career development that emphasizes learning through real work experiences. 70% of an employee’s learning and development takes place on the job and is built into their goals, 20% occurs through mentorships and collaboration and 10% comes from courses or formal training. 

Leadership Development

We offer employees at all levels a variety of training opportunities , ranging from online courses to in-person workshops and multiday programs. A few examples of programs that improve our business by promoting employee learning and development include:

  • Retail Academy - This program combines classroom sessions, rotational training and business simulations designed to develop the skills employees need to advance and navigate the increasingly complex and technology-driven retail space. This includes a world-class Rotational Management Program (RMP) for high-potential entry-level talent being groomed to become future leaders of the company. 
  • Leadership Development - This six-month program provides tools and resources to new people managers and helps them develop the long-term capabilities of others, create better ways to achieve business success and empower their teams.

Everyone has the capacity to learn and grow, and the best opportunities for learning take place on the job.

Field to HQ

Fueling our entry-level headquarters roles with incredible talent is important to our success, and field employees are a key source of talent for these roles. Our diverse field employees work with customers every day and understand what they need and want. Their connection to customers and understanding of how our stores work is invaluable at headquarters. We have always encouraged bringing store employees to headquarters and in 2017, we formalized a program where we actively market opportunities to store employees, support candidates through the recruiting process and provide a custom onboarding experience to ensure a successful transition. By 2020, our goal is to fill 20 percent of entry-level headquarters roles with field employees.


We filled the majority of open headquarters manager and above positions through internal hires in 2016. For store management positions, over 49 percent of open positions went to existing employees. Most store associates are new hires.

Global Share of Open Positions
Filled by Internal Hires
2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
VP & Above 75% 60% 71% 57% 70% 71% 61%
Director / Sr. Director 72% 65% 67% 65% 65% 64% 52%
Manager / Sr. Manager 65% 56% 57% 60% 58% 59% 57%
Store Management 57% 53% 53% 52% 53% 49% 47%
Overall (including Store Associates) 15% 15% 15% 15% 14% 15% 15%