Tips & Training

Resources on career development and social justice (Part 3)

Reading Time: 5 minutes

COVID-19 brought many long-standing equity issues connected to education and work to the forefront. Early unemployment figures showed racialized Canadians’ employment was hit harder than that of white Canadians – a trend that continued to affect Black, Indigenous and other racialized individuals as the pandemic persisted. Front-line workers navigated increasingly precarious conditions and many women left the workforce, dropping the female labour-force participation rate to its lowest level in 30 years. Career professionals and those they serve grappled with uneven access to services and technology after lockdowns shuttered offices across the country.

However, the pandemic also brought increased recognition that – with a grounding in social justice – career development can be a powerful tool to challenge inequities and to advance the public good. Services, programs, advocacy and education can recognize and work to change the systemic barriers that prevent all individuals from having equal opportunity to seek work that is meaningful to them and meets their needs.

This article – originally published in 2021 and most recently updated in 2024 – follows two resource compilations on social justice published on CareerWise in 2020. Check out Part 1 and Part 2 to learn more about this topic.

What resources do you draw on in your career development work to advance social justice? Share in the comments or send to careerwise@ceric.ca, and your resource may be included in a future article.

British Journal of Guidance & Counselling, Volume 50, Issue 4 (2022)

This issue includes multiple articles with a social justice lens including “Critical perspectives on agency and social justice in transitions and career development”; “Theorising agency for socially just career guidance and counselling scholarship and practice”; “Towards intersectional and anti-racist career guidance”; and “Problem representations of employability in higher education: using design thinking and critical analysis as tools for social justice in careers education.”

Career Development for Diverse Clients: Beyond the Basics (Roberta Borgen) [Book]

This book examines the unique challenges that individuals from a variety of populations may face as they move their careers forward while simultaneously challenging complex barriers. Each of its 35 chapters is written or revised by someone with specialized knowledge or lived experience in the area of diversity being examined. Dedicated chapters examine supporting transgender folks in career transitions, the training of Indigenous employment counsellors, the multilingual workplace and more.

Career Development Interventions for Social Justice: Addressing Needs across the Lifespan in Educational, Community, and Employment Contexts (Eds. Margo A. Jackson, Allyson K. Regis and Kourtney Bennett) [Book]

Career development interventions can serve as one means to constructively address the problems of inequitable access to educational and occupational options and achievement that promote health and well-being across the lifespan. This book offers practical examples of career development interventions that may be adapted to constructively address social justice needs at various points across the lifespan.

Careering magazine: Social Justice issue (CERIC)

In winter 2021, CERIC published an entire issue of its Careering magazine on the theme of social justice in career development. The issue includes over 20 articles, including:

‘Everyone has a right to a decent and dignified life that includes a meaningful career’ – An interview with David Blustein (Career Guidance for Social Justice) [Article]

Raza Abbas interviews Boston College Professor and leading vocational psychology scholar David Blustein about career guidance and social justice. “My fundamental belief and value is that social justice is integral to our field,” Blustein says.

Also from the Career Guidance for Social Justice blog:

Gaining Cultural Competence in Career Counseling (Kathy M. Evans and Aubrey L. Sejuit) [Book]

This book, published by the NCDA, aims to help educators, practitioners and students to be more informed about diversity, equity, social justice and career counselling. It also explores topics related to career theories, assessment and ethics.

K-12 Career Development: An Integrative Social Justice Approach [Book]

Authored by David James Bright, this book provides school counsellors-in-training with a clear and comprehensive theoretical model to help them build and maintain a K-12 career development program within schools that feature a holistic focus on applied social justice principles. This text recognizes that social justice is at the core of all school counselling work and that career development is a major focus of the school counsellor.

Social justice and career development: Progress, problems, and possibilities (Journal of Vocational Behavior) [Open-source academic article]

Drawing on scholarship in the fields of vocational and industrial/organizational (VIO) psychology, Ellen Hawley McWhirter and Ishbel McWha-Hermann propose a definition of social justice and assess progress and problems in achieving it. They suggest that much VIO social justice scholarship focuses on individuals and microsystems, and a focus on structural sources of injustice and neoliberal influences is needed.

Social justice and social mobility: Implications for careers education and guidance (Adventures in Career Development) [Presentation]

A YouTube video and PowerPoint slides from UK researcher Tristram Hooley’s presentation to the Career Development Institute in February 2021. Hooley talks about how career guidance can contribute to social mobility, goes on to discuss some of the problems with social mobility as a concept and suggests moving toward a broader idea of social justice.

Social justice at work: On power relations, inclusion and recognition in the career guidance practice [Lecture]

In this presentation, originally recorded for the Career Guidance and Social Justice E-School in 2020, Åsa Sundelin (Senior lecturer at Department of Education at Stockholm University) discusses the issues of social justice and power in career guidance work with migrants. Sundelin explores how the experience of career guidance and counselling with clients from migrant backgrounds can contribute to the knowledge development of the field.

The Oxford Handbook of Career Development (Eds. Peter J. Robertson, Tristram Hooley and Phil McCash) [Book]

This book explores current ideas and debates in career development from a variety of viewpoints including socio-economic, political, educational and social justice perspectives. Its chapters include “The Positioning of Social Justice: Critical Challenges for Career Development” and “The Cultural Preparedness Perspective of Career Development.”

Check out a review of the book on CareerWise.

Where to Begin Conversations about Career Development and Social Justice (NCDA) [Article]

As career development professionals we have a responsibility to develop a deep understanding and operating framework around issues of social justice, writes Brian Hutchison (Walden University). This article outlines three key practices to help career development professionals improve their understanding of, and facility when discussing, social justice in a career development context.

Additional reading

Lindsay Purchase Administrator
Lindsay Purchase is the Editor of CERIC’s CareerWise website and CareerWise Weekly newsletter. She has a background in journalism, having worked previously as a digital editor and reporter. Lindsay is a graduate of Wilfrid Laurier University’s Global Studies program and Toronto Metropolitan University’s Food Security certificate program.
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Lindsay Purchase Administrator
Lindsay Purchase is the Editor of CERIC’s CareerWise website and CareerWise Weekly newsletter. She has a background in journalism, having worked previously as a digital editor and reporter. Lindsay is a graduate of Wilfrid Laurier University’s Global Studies program and Toronto Metropolitan University’s Food Security certificate program.
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