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Career Planning Guidance and Information: “Who you gonna call?”

Unchanged since 2007, Canadians are most likely to turn to their immediate circle of co-workers, friends and neighbours for career planning guidance and information.


The Canadian Education and Research Institute for Counselling (CERIC) has released findings of a survey conducted by Environics Research Group asking Canadians about their job satisfaction, their perceptions about their workplaces and performance management, and the tools and resources they turn to when looking for a job or building a career. This project is a follow-up to a benchmark initiative completed in 2007 that asked similar questions. This article is an excerpt from the 2011 survey report.

Who and what do Canadians turn to when planning their careers? Repeating a question asked in 2007, the 2010 CERIC survey assessed the degree to which certain people or sources of information helped Canadians with their career development process. Consistent with 2007, co-workers (68%), and friends, neighbours or relatives (other than parents) (65%) top the list of helpful sources of information and guidance about careers. Perhaps surprisingly, newspapers (62%) remain an important source of information, although judging from the disproportionate number of older Canadians (30+) who found newspapers helpful, their importance is likely waning as they are replaced with on-line information about careers. Parents are a close fourth (61%), with their perceived helpfulness skewing higher among Canadians under the age of 30. Career sites on the Internet are becoming more important, with six in ten (58%) who found them helpful to their career development.


Helpfulness to career development (2007 and 2010)


Q.14 Usually when we look back at how far we’ve come with our job or career, even though we’ve had many experiences, there are special moments when certain people/things have had an impact on us. In the past, when you have sought to plan your career or select, change or get a job, overall, throughout all of your experiences, how relatively helpful have the following been to you…?

Since 2007, there have been downward changes in the perceived helpfulness of a number of sources, most notably of mentors (down 11 points), and school guidance counsellors (down 10). Despite the comparatively higher value that younger Canadians place on guidance counsellors (27% of those under 30, compared to 19% of those 30 and older), from 2007 to 2010 the helpfulness of school guidance counsellors and mentors has waned in the eyes of Canadians. As well, the helpfulness of career development professionals (both in and out of an educational setting) has slipped since 2007, and continues to trail behind members of Canadians’ immediate circle (i.e., friends, family and co-workers), and their instructors and teachers.

This suggests career counsellors could benefit not only from continuing to work on finding ways to address the needs of a changing workforce, but also in increasing their public exposure. Canadians need to know that career development professionals are available, and have the tools and knowledge necessary to help them develop their careers and satisfy their career goals.
Read the full report, “On-line survey on public perceptions about career development and the workplace”, on the CERIC website.


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