ERIC Identifier: ED414527
Publication Date: 1995-00-00
Author: Hiebert, Bryan - Bezanson, M. Lynne
Clearinghouse on Counseling and Student Services Greensboro NC., Canadian
Guidance and Counselling Foundation Ottawa (Ontario).
On the Horizon: Important Future Directions for Career
Development: ERIC Digest.
Career development in Canada is undergoing exciting changes. Many good
initiatives have been sponsored by provincial and federal government
departments. With CAMCRY Stay In School, Youth Services Canada, and Youth
Internships, substantial financial resources have been invested. Excellent
programs have been developed. Many well-trained professionals are now working in
the area of career development. Equally important, many others now see the need
for career development and are actively supporting it. Career development is
moving into the mainstream and gaining a greater profile within professional
The need for career development is enormous.
High unemployment is a global problem and Canada's figures fall within the
mid-range. There is agreement that the "old way" of "one job for life" is no
longer a reality for most people. It is possible that, in the future, there will
not be enough paid employment for all. Therefore, there is a need to build on,
and extend what we have accomplished, in order to meet the challenges of the
It is dangerous and inappropriate to "crystal ball gaze," but it is possible
to suggest some issues that will need to be addressed, and outline some of what
is--or will need to be, on the horizon, in order for career development to
remain a vital force.
The meaning of "career success" needs to be reconceptualized.
Baby boomers, the largest demographic group in Canada, have been taught to
believe that a stable career is good--if people work hard, and earn a good
education, they will be assured of work, will be able to choose any job, and may
remain in that job as long as they want. Success is defined in terms of "upward"
mobility--mobility through, or upward into another organization.
Now the rules have changed. Companies are downsizing. There is massive
unemployment and a surplus of qualified workers in many areas. Quota systems in
most universities prevent many youth from getting into the program of their
choice. Those who do get the program they want may find there are no jobs
available in that area when they graduate. There is a dramatic increase in
part-time jobs, contract work, and "portfolio people."
The meaning of "career success" needs to be revised so that people are able
to view themselves as successful, despite changing circumstances. People are not
necessarily failures if they "only find part time work" or if they change jobs
every 2-3 years. While it is true that some people lack the skills to maintain
permanent work, it is also true that others are forced to change jobs by system
factors beyond their control. Therefore, it is important to develop a mind set
that does not automatically assume that there is something wrong with people who
change jobs frequently. Moreover, it will be important to legitimize the
satisfaction and feeling of success which people derive from unpaid work.
The current bias towards occupations requiring a university education
automatically excludes 80% of the population from entering "high status" jobs.
More value must be placed on technical occupations, apprenticeships, trades, and
other skilled work. Such alternatives may then be seen as legitimate "first
choice" options for workers.
People need expanded skills sets to succeed in the work place.
Expanded skills sets are described in several sources. The Conference Board
of Canada underscores higher order thinking, personal management, and team
working skills (see McLaughlin, 1995). Borgen and Amundson (1995) outline a
youth empowerment model that facilitates successful transitions. In addition, it
is important that people learn how to be self-motivated, how to recognize
opportunity in changing circumstances, how to find ways to promote satisfaction
in their current jobs (focusing on the positive), and how to manage their
self-talk so that it coaches facilitative behavior, productive thinking, and
motivating affect. It is also be necessary to develop skills in marketing
oneself, to enhance skills and attitudes that promote being flexible, and to
foster skills for determining one's generic transferable skills.
The needs of workers in transition must be recognized.
Many people are in life roles in which they feel trapped. Such people as
these who are between jobs, women returning to work, workers changing to more
satisfying jobs, and workers wanting to renew their enthusiasm for their current
jobs. Programs and methods need to be developed to assist these people in making
transitions to more meaningful situations.
The needs of older workers in retirement must be recognized.
With increasing numbers of people nearing retirement age, and with firms
offering early retirement incentives, it will be important to change the concept
of retirement from a transition to "doing nothing" to a planned change in
focus." This may involve a gradual reduction of job hours while a worker
explores other sources of satisfaction. It may also require formal career
planning for the post-retirement career/life options. Most people who enjoy
retirement find that they are busy pursuing non-paid work as sources of
satisfaction (the term "volunteer work" is not a coincidence!).
The scope and practice of career development needs to expand.
The term "career/life" development acknowledges that career issues cannot be
separated from other life issues. The domains of career counseling, career
guidance, and career education need to be updated. As a point of discussion, we
suggest the following:
education will take place mostly in school classrooms, with a focus on
developing knowledge, skills, and attitudes generic to most career/life
transition situations. Increasingly, the focus is on an infusion model where
career education becomes a component of several school subjects, English (e.g.,
resume' writing), and science (e.g., being aware of career possibilities in
chemistry), and so forth. (See Millar, 1995).
guidance (people often need a guide) will take place largely in small workshops
and have a skill-training focus. Most European countries call this "careers
guidance." In Canada, it's sometimes called "counseling," "workshops,' or simply
"group work." In some cases, guidance may be individualized, but the focus will
be either on skill training, or marketing, or placement.
counseling may involve individuals or groups, but the agenda will include
complicated skill sets or long-standing problems, such as contextual situations
or client barriers.
Alternative delivery systems need to be developed.
A revised delivery system will make career guidance/counseling accessible to
all, across the life span. This may involve the promotion of a "Career
Development Culture." Just as "Participaction" increased the awareness of the
importance of physical fitness for health, promoting a "Career Development
Culture" will help people take charge of their career/life paths. There may be a
need for periodic "career check-ups," where workers at all levels and in all
jobs take stock of their career direction and map out their future career/life
plans. Part of a new delivery system may include the three-component model of
self-help, group work (guidance), and individual work (guidance or counseling),
which is summarized by Kellett and Conger (1995).
The scope of practice of those working in career development will need to be
Counselors need to break out of the traditional mold which emphasizes
individual client interactions. Many client problems are more amenable to group
intervention. Working with third parties (families, employers, other agencies)
is increasingly important in helping clients achieve their goals. Practitioners
need to become adept at marketing their programs, and the results of their
interventions, to the public, and to their clients, supervisors, managers, and
co-workers. Social action also has a legitimate role for career development
practitioners, such as wheel chair access in public buildings for handicapped
There is a need for standards of training and service delivery.
Currently there is no accepted training standard for those working in career
development and no guidelines for quality assurance in service delivery. A
multilevel set of standards should be developed to assure clients that service
providers (classroom teachers, school counselors, agency counselors, contract
trainers, and so forth) have appropriate training to deliver services.
Commensurate with this, guidelines are needed to guarantee that adequate
services are offered in career development. This will ensure that quality
control procedures are in place to monitor and evaluate the outcomes from each
Evaluation approaches need to be modified and more readily accepted.
The scope and context of evaluation needs to be expanded to include ways of
tabulating the things that counselors do to keep clients motivated, gauge client
progress, and teach clients how to be more aware of their successes. Increasing
accountability concerns will make it important to develop non-intrusive ways to
use naturally occurring events as evidence of client success. Currently, the
profession is not good at this because people have applied little collective
creativity towards developing valuation procedures. As we devote more energy to
evaluation new methods will begin to emerge.
Career development has been gaining prominence
over the past decade as more professionals and members of the public realize the
important role that career/life planning plays in people's lives. The directions
we propose will help ensure that career counseling, career guidance, and career
education maintain the necessary relevance to remain in the mainstream of
services. This, in turn, will help to increase the profile of career development
in the eyes of practitioners in a wide variety of professional settings.
Borgen, W. A., & Amundson, N.E. (1995).
Models of adolescent transition. ERIC/CASS Digest No.95-59.
Kellett, R., & Conger, 5. (1995). A three-tiered model of career
counseling services. ERIC/CASS Digest No.95-75.
McLaughlin, M. A. (1995). Employability Skills Profile: What Are employers
looking for? ERIC/CASS Digest No.95-44.
Millar, G. (1995). Helping schools with career infusion. ERIC/CASS Digest