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Using Career Counselling Services: The “Good” and “Not So Good” News

A majority of Canadians see the value of a professional career counselling program, but fewer are certain they would use one.
Most Canadians see the value in professional career development programs, possibly due to the assistance they could provide to those who often have trouble finding fulfilling and satisfying work. Eight in ten believe these programs would be valuable, with about three in ten (27%) who say these programs would bevery valuable and one-half who think these programs would be somewhat valuable (52%). Only five percent report that professional career counselling programs would not be valuable at all. The perceived value of professional career development programs has softened slightly since 2007, with fewer Canadians who now think that such a program would be very important (27%, down 7 points from 2007).

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. For methodological information, please see below.

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Certainty of using a professional career counselling program (2007 and 2010)

Q.15 Thinking back over your career; and based on what you know now, how valuable would
you say it would be for a worker to have a professional career counselling program for
himself/herself that included one-on-one career counselling or coaching from a career
planning and development professional, resume-building, interview training, etc…?

While professional career counselling programs are perceived to be at least somewhat valuable by many Canadians, this perception is strongest among women, Canadians with children, those with an activity-limiting disability, Canadians who are unemployed or stay-at-home full-time, and those who experience workplace related discomfort all or most of the time. These results send a clear message that key groups in the Canadian population want and need access to career counselling to help them achieve their career goals.

As could be expected, estimations of the value of professional career counselling programs are connected to job satisfaction and a desire to move on to a new line of work. Canadians who are dissatisfied with their careers are more likely to perceive them as very valuable, compared to Canadians satisfied with their work (32% versus 21%). Additionally, Canadians who hope to move on to another job are twice as likely as those content with their current role to feel a career counselling program is very valuable.

Despite the relatively high proportion of Canadians who see the value in professional career development programs, far fewer are certain that they would use them. Over half (55%) would use a professional career counselling program (16% very certain and 39% somewhat certain), while the remainder (44%) are less certain. Consistent with the decline in the proportion who would value a professional career development program, fewer Canadians than before (16%, down 6 points from 2007) are very certain that they would use such a program.

 

Certainty of using a professional career counselling program (2007 and 2010)

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 Q.16 Today, if you could choose a professional career counselling program for yourself that included
one-on-one career counselling or coaching from a career planning and development professional,
resume-building, interview training, how certain are you that you would use such a service or even need one…?

This ambivalence masks the fact that certain – often more disadvantaged – populations are the most likely to turn to a professional career counsellor for one-on-one guidance. These groups include: women, Canadians with the lowest incomes, recent immigrants, those with disabilities, those who stay at home full-time, those who experience discrimination at work and those who identify as a visible minority.


Methodology

Findings from the Environics Research Group survey were released in January 2011. A total of 1,202 Canadians aged 18 years or older provided their input to the on-line survey conducted between November 3 and 11, 2010. Age, gender, and regional quotas were placed to ensure that this sample reflects the Canadian population. Data gathered can therefore be extrapolated to the full population with a reasonable degree of confidence, and permitting analysis by important subgroups. Furthermore, this sample size was chosen as it can provide meaningful and statistically reliable results for important segments of the population, whether this is by region, community size, household type or relevant demographic characteristics such as education level and family size.
Read the full report, “On-line survey on public perceptions about career development and the workplace”, on the CERIC website.

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