As work changes, what are the biggest concerns students and jobseekers have about their careers? How can career professionals ensure they are adequately prepared to help people navigate new challenges in their career development?
These are timely questions to consider during Canada Career Month – an occasion to celebrate the work of career professionals, but also to reflect on where the field is headed. CERIC’s 2019 Survey of Career Professionals, which is open for the month of November, offers such an opportunity for professionals working in all areas of career development. This survey is only open once every four years (it was previously run in 2011 and 2015). It presents a crucial snapshot of the profession and identifies how it has changed over time. The survey helps CERIC and the field at large better understand career professionals’ interests and challenges, as well as their professional development (PD) and learning needs.
Why this matters
Survey feedback about career professionals’ competencies and PD desires directly inform the resources CERIC produces, the learning opportunities it provides and the research it funds. For instance:
- In the 2015 survey, career professionals expressed interest in learning more about career theories. CERIC has since released its Career Theories and Models at Work: Ideas for Practice book (featuring 60 authors from nine countries), as well several related blogs and two free webinar series.
- CERIC has funded research and produced numerous publications related to client groups career professionals wanted to learn more about, such as: immigrants (Bridging Two Worlds: Supporting Newcomer and Refugee Youth; Settlement Services Workers Profile project); people dealing with mental health issues (Careering magazine – “Navigating mental health and disability”; Career Development and Mental Health project); children and youth (The Early Years: Career Development for Young Children; Computing Disciplines: A Quick Guide for Prospective Students and Career Advisors; Role of Career Education on High School Students’ Education Choices and Post-secondary Outcomes project); and much more.
- Career professionals identified websites, e-newsletters and social media as preferred sources of informal learning. This helped inform the transition from the directory-style ContactPoint website to the content-based CareerWise.
By highlighting their learning needs, career professionals help CERIC and the field at large identify opportunities to fill gaps. This informs what we choose for our Summer Skills programming, Careering magazine themes, webinar topics, priority areas for research funding, CareerWise article ideas and more.
Exploring the value of career development
The Survey of Career Professionals also offers a chance to check in on perceptions of the field and capture trends in client concerns. For instance, the 2019 survey asks career professionals – as did the 2011 and 2015 surveys – how they believe the career development field is perceived by Canadians. It also asks how they think this perception changed, if at all. These questions relate to larger reflections the field needs to engage in to help prepare Canadians for the future of work: Are career professionals doing enough to promote the work they do and to help people understand its value?
To communicate the value of career development, it is helpful to identify themes across the experiences of students and clients. What are the primary needs of students/clients in career transition? What are their biggest concerns in navigating their careers and figuring out next steps? What career regrets are clients expressing? With responses from career professionals representing a diverse cross-section of the career development field across Canada, CERIC can highlight common national concerns as well as unique regional challenges jobseekers are facing.
This year, we are also particularly interested in hearing from educators and counsellors involved in the K-12 system, with a special section of the survey devoted to learning about how career education is happening in our schools. Questions explore what form career programs are taking and whether career is infused into curriculum. Responses will help us better understand what is happening nationally in K-12 career education and where gaps may exist.
The power of knowledge
Career professionals understand the vital importance of labour market information for clients’ career development. Similarly, as ways of working, technology and skills requirements shift, it is crucial that career professionals are equipped with the knowledge and tools to advance the field and bolster jobseekers’ career management abilities. The CERIC Survey of Career Professionals is just one part of this equation, but it’s an important opportunity to reflect on the state of career development and what career professionals need to navigate future challenges. Don’t miss your chance to be counted: take the survey this November and join the national conversation.
Want the best of CareerWise delivered to your inbox each week? Subscribe to our popular CareerWise Weekly newsletter to receive top news and views in career development every Tuesday.