ERIC Identifier: ED304632
Publication Date: 1988-00-00
Author: Gysbers, Norman
Source: ERIC Clearinghouse on
Counseling and Personnel Services Ann Arbor MI.
Career Development: The Contemporary Scene and the Future.
Highlights: An ERIC/CAPS Digest.
Modern theories of career development
began appearing in literature during the 1950s. At that time the occupational
choice focus of the first forty years of career development began to give way to
a broader, more comprehensive view of individuals and their occupational
development over the life span. Occupational choice began to be viewed as a
developmental process. The term vocational development became popular in the
'50s as a way to describe the broadening view of occupational choice.
By the 1960s, the terms career and career development became popular. This
expanded perception of career and career development was more useful than the
earlier view of career development as occupational choice because it broke the
time barrier that had previously restricted the vision of career development to
only a cross-sectional view of an individual's life.
In the 1970s, the definitions of career and career development used by some
writers became broader and more encompassing.
Gysbers and Moore (1975, 1981) proposed the concept of life career
development in an effort to expand and extend career development from an
occupational perspective to a life perspective in which occupation (and work)
has place and meaning. They defined "life career development" as
self-development over the life span through the integration of roles, settings,
and events of a person's life. The word "life" in the definition means that the
focus is on the total person--the human career. The word "career" identifies and
relates the roles in which individuals are involved (worker, learner, family,
citizen); the settings where individuals find themselves (home, school,
community, work place); and the events that occur over their lifetimes (entry
job, marriage, divorce, retirement). Finally, the word development is used to
indicate that individuals are always in the process of becoming. When used in
sequence, the words "life career development" bring these separate meanings
together, but at the same time, a greater meaning emerges. Life career
development describes unique people with their own life styles.
DIVERSITY OF PROGRAMS, TOOLS, AND TECHNIQUES
Career Development Association's third decennial volume, Designing Careers,
Gysbers and Associates (1984) documented the rapid expansion in and the almost
bewildering diversity of career development programs, tools, and techniques
available today to help individuals. They project that this expansion will
continue into the foreseeable future. Also, they point out that these programs,
tools, and techniques are better organized, are more frequently theory-based,
and are used more systematically than ever before. Finally, they project that
these emphases will continue into the future.
Let us look more specifically at what is involved in this major trend. The
theory and research base of counseling psychology has been expanded and extended
substantially during the past twenty years, but particularly during the past ten
EXPANDING POPULATIONS AND SETTINGS
At the turn of the
century, one focus for counseling was to help young people in transition from
school to work to make occupational choices in line with their understandings
about themselves and the work world through a process called true reasoning
(Parsons, 1909). Today, young people still are the recipients of counseling and
will be in the future. Additional populations to be served by counseling have
been added over the years and have included such groups as individuals with
handicapping conditions, college students, the disadvantaged, and unemployed
individuals. As the world in which we live and work continues to become more
complex, the needs of people in these populations for counseling will increase,
As new concepts about career development began to appear and evolve, it
became obvious that people of all ages and circumstances had career development
needs and concerns, and that they and society could and would benefit from
career development programs, services, and counseling. Two such concepts, in
particular, had an effect. First was the shift from a point-in-time focus to the
life-span focus for career development. And second was the personalization of
the concept of career (the human career) relating it to life roles, settings,
and events. By introducing these two concepts, the door opened for counseling
personnel to provide programs to a wide range of people of all ages in many
different kinds of settings.
Adult Career Development. The newer concept of career development emerged as
a result of and in response to the continuing changes that are taking place in
our social, industrial, economic, and occupational environments and structures.
Because of these changes, adults and adult career development became a focal
point for an increasing number of career development theorists and practitioners
in the 1970s (Campbell & Cellini, 1981). This focus continued into the 1980s
and, in all probability, will continue into the future. As a result,
institutions and agencies that serve adults traditionally have added career
development components, including counseling. And, new agencies and
organizations have been established to provide adults with career development
programs, services, and counseling where none had existed.
Career development programs, services, and counseling in business and
industry also became a focal point in the 1970s and 1980s. This trend, too, will
continue and probably be intensified in the foreseeable future. More businesses
and industries, as well as many other organizations, are realizing the benefits
of these activities for their employees. And if employees benefit, then the
organizations benefit as well.
Career Development in the School Setting. As definitions of career and career
development have evolved, and become broader and more encompassing, particularly
during the past twenty years, there has been a corresponding broadening and
expansion of career guidance programs and services to children and young people
in our schools. And, they do have an impact (Campbell, Connell, Kinnel-Boyle,
& Bhaerman, 1983; Hotchkiss & Vetter, 1987; Prediger & Sawyer,
Although it is clear that a broad definition of career and career development
opens up more possibilities and opportunities for programs and services for
children, young people, and adults than a narrow definition, it is equally clear
that other variables are involved. The changing economic, occupational,
industrial, and social environments and structures in which people live and work
have created conditions and needs not previously present. Individuals must now
give more attention to their career development. In addition, a more complex
understanding of human growth and development from counseling and career
psychology, and the corresponding improvement of intervention strategies and
resources, have helped in the expansion and extension of career guidance
programs in the elementary and secondary schools as well as other educational
and agency settings.
The Future. As these trends converge, they have begun to shape a new focus
for career guidance programs for the future. What will be the focus of career
guidance programs in the future? Will future programs be remedial, emphasize
crises, and deal with immediate concerns and issues in people's lives? Will they
be developmental and emphasize growth experiences and long-range planning
activities? Or, will they do both? The sense of the trends discussed in
Designing Careers (Gysbers & Associates, 1984) and in the literature in
general clearly indicate that career guidance programs of the future will
respond to the developmental, long-term career needs of students, as well as to
their more immediate career crises needs.
Traditionally, career guidance programs have focused on immediate problems
and concerns of people. Personal crises, lack of information, a specific
occupational choice, and ineffective relationships with others are examples of
the immediate problems and concerns to which school counselors are asked to
respond. This focus for career guidance programs will continue, and new and more
effective ways of helping children and young people with their problems and
concerns will continue to emerge. To help counselors meet the challenges they
may face in the future, however, this focus for career guidance is not
sufficient. What is needed is a developmental focus.
Based on this premise, a primary goal of career guidance is to assist all
persons (children, young people, and adults) to become competent achieving
individuals, to maximize their potential through the effective use or management
of their own talents and their environment. As a result career guidance should
focus on assisting all individuals in the development of self-knowledge and
interpersonal skills, in obtaining life career planning competencies, in
identifying and using placement resources, and in gaining knowledge and
understanding of life roles, settings, and events, specifically those associated
with family, education, work, and leisure. Individuals' feelings of control over
their environment and their own destiny, and their relations with others and
with institutions are of prime importance.
What began at the turn of the century with a
selection and placement focus, and then shifted in the 1920s and 1930s to a
focus on personal adjustment, has now assumed a developmental focus.
Societal conditions, interacting with our more complete knowledge of human
growth and development in career terms, as well as the broader array of tools
and techniques, have brought us to the realization that career development is a
life-span phenomenon and that all individuals can benefit from participating in
a comprehensive guidance program K-12 with career development firmly and
identifiably embedded within it.
Campbell, R.E. & Cellini, J.V.
(1981). A diagnostic taxonomy of adult career problems. Journal of Vocational
Behavior, 19, 175-190.
Campbell, R.E., Connell, J.B., Kinnel-Boyle, K., & Bhaerman, R.D. (1983).
Enhancing career development: Recommendations for action. Columbus, OH: The
National Center for Research in Vocational Education.
Gysbers, N.C., & Moore, E.J. (1975). Beyond career development--Life
career development. Personnel and Guidance Journal, 53, 647-652.
Gysbers, N.C., & Moore, E.J. (1981). Improving guidance programs.
Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
Gysbers, N.C., & Associates. (1984). Designing Careers. San Francisco:
Hotchkiss, L. & Vetter, L. (1987). Outcomes of career guidance and
counseling. Columbus, OH: The National Center for Research in Vocational
Parsons, F. (1909). Choosing a vocation. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
Prediger, D.J., & Sawyer, R.L. (1986). Ten years of career development: A
nationwide study of high school students. Journal of Counseling and Development,