“There is recognition that just like you need a financial planner and other professionals in your life, you also need professional advice to successfully manage your career,” said Jan Basso, chair of the Canadian Education and Research Institute for Counseling (CERIC), which commissioned the survey along with The Counseling Foundation of Canada.
Basso, who is also director of co-operative education and career development at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ont., said the need for career guidance is particularly acute with ongoing skills and experience mismatches, and with rapid changes in the Canadian employment landscape, citing the oil and gas and retail sectors as examples.
The survey of 1,500 adult Canadians looks at how they use career and employment counseling services. Three groups emerge from the findings – those who define themselves as having a “career,” those who define themselves as having a “job” and students. Those with careers say their careers fit with their post-secondary background or required a degree, diploma or specific training. Those with jobs say no specific education was required or it was the best job they could find. At 55%, those working in careers make up the largest category of respondents.
More than half of those with a career (53%) said they had sought advice from a career professional. Those with a job accessed counseling services less than those with a career at just under four in 10 (38%). Among both those with careers and jobs who did not seek career or employment counseling, half agreed that they should have obtained more professional advice (47% and 50% respectively).
Canadians reported that when they were considering career options, they were most likely to have met with a:
High school guidance counselor (55%)
Career counselor at a post-secondary institution (40%)
Person involved in human resources or career management at their place of work (27%)
Specialist at a community-based employment center (26%)
Recruiter or headhunter (21%)
Barriers to accessing career services mentioned in the survey include Canadians not believing they need career counseling since they already know their career goals and a lack of familiarity with the different career services available.
“Career professionals come in a variety of forms, from high school guidance counselors to private career coaches,” said Riz Ibrahim, CERIC’s executive director. “Some can be accessed for free and for some, there is a cost. It’s understandable that people might need assistance to determine the right type of services for their needs.”
Canadians can access career professionals for far more than writing resumes, Ibrahim said. Career professionals provide guidance on career planning, advancing one’s career or making a career transition whether a student, mid-career changer or retiree. They also help people identify their interests and skills and to understand the job market as well as education or training opportunities. Career professionals also work with organizations to ensure they have the right people with the right skills through a range of human resources practices.
Students in the survey list parents, other family members and friends as individuals they have consulted about their career and employment ambitions. Teachers and professors also appear as important sources of advice around career options. A majority of current students (58%) report that they are likely to seek advice from career or employment counselors.
Survey findings show that as age rises, the number of Canadians with careers seeking career counseling declines. Those 18–24 years of age are most likely to report that they have used career counseling services at 76%. More women (57%) than men (50%) report having accessed career services. In terms of location, more residents of Ontario (61%) sought advice from a career professional compared with residents of Quebec (49%), Atlantic Canada (46%) and BC (45%). source
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