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Career Services Sector Learns from Survey Findings

by Mario R. Gravelle Findings from the Survey of Career Service Professionals were revealed at Cannexus12 (January 23-25, 2012). The survey delved into research and education issues as well as career competency and mobility. The resultant information offers a snapshot of the composition of the career services community including some of its interests and challenges, along with professional development and information needs. Here are a few things that we learned:
The Canadian Education and Research Institute for Counselling (CERIC) plays a part in generating primary data about the career counselling and career development field. CERIC recently carried out a survey to uncover the opinions of career service professionals. The online survey was conducted between October 14 and November 18, 2011. Participants were recruited via an open call across CERIC’s email lists. Supporting organizations also forwarded the survey notification to broaden representation. It was completed by 1,013 respondents from the field.


Demographic information highlights

A significantly larger proportion of the career service professional community is female. This gender-based disparity is expected to increase in the near future.

Comparison by gender and age


For the most part, those in this field made a deliberate choice to enter the profession. However, the field appears to offer modest compensation taking into consideration the fact that participants are very well-educated. Personal growth/new challenge is the leading reason for those thinking about leaving the field.


Professional development and learning highlights

Career service professionals are interested in enhancing their job skills in several areas. They are likewise very interested on accessing information about the field. Unfortunately, limited financial support along with time constraints sometimes preclude them from taking advantage of these learning opportunities.

Training obstacles


Section 3, Q3: Given the training opportunities currently available to the field,
which of the following presents the greatest challenge in meeting your training needs?
(Select the top 3 that apply)

In-person professional development is preferred while the Internet is the favoured means of accessing career-related information.

Research Highlights
A small proportion of the career service professional community is undertaking research about the field. However, there appears to be a greater appetite for knowledge arising from this research. A comparatively higher proportion of those in the field evaluate the work that they do either by tracking client satisfaction or intervention outcomes.

Career Competency / Mobility Highlights
Those in the career service community believe that professional certification is important to their work. A number of people are already certified by national and provincial associations/bodies who offer accreditation relevant to those in this field. Moving up the career ladder is on the minds of many who provide career services as a strong proportion is interested in one day assuming a managerial role in the field.

Technology Access and Awareness Highlights
Electronic technology (social media, software or mobile applications) related to career development is perceived as very useful by those in the career service community.


Importance of Social Media

However, only a small proportion of this group is well aware of how to use these types of tools. A similarly limited ratio is involved in educating their clients about how to use social media tools for professional development purposes.

For more detailed findings please consult the Highlights Report: Survey of Career Service Professionals available (in French and English) on the CERIC website ( A PowerPoint presentation is also available. Three thematic articles will be distributed via the Bulletin in 2012. These articles will examine some topics in greater detail (for instance a comparison across sectors; by function; or by age group).


Mario R. Gravelle joined The Counselling Foundation of Canada in early 2011 as Learning and Innovation Analyst. His responsibilities include instituting and overseeing knowledge capture and knowledge transfer activities about projects that the foundation supports. Mr. Gravelle is a doctoral candidate in history at York University (B.A. from Concordia University and M.A. from the University of Ottawa).

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