Career Guidance: All Inclusive

Career Guidance: All Inclusive

Our children study in an education system designed for a world that no longer exists. They go from nursery to school, from school to college or university, completing education at a certain stage in order to become an engineer, programmer, cook or writer, equipped, thanks to parents and teachers, with an understanding of what an engineer, programmer, cook or writer represent. But life has gone ahead. What should they learn in a changing world? How to choose a profession that does not exist yet, and what is a profession in the categories of the future? How to develop students' abilities and interests to help them find the fulfilment? What is the basis for choosing a career path in the 21st century?

Career guidance is a complex system. Having emerged as a new direction in pedagogy and psychology at the end of the XIX – beginning of the XX centuries due to the rapid growth of the world economy and the birth of new professions to help young people, career guidance has become social in content, economic in results and public in the organization of work by the system of relations between the state and its young citizens. 

The founding father of the career guidance approach is considered to be Frank Parsons, an American sociologist, reformer, and educator. The Career Bureau opened by him in 1908 in Boston proclaimed their goal as “helping young people in choosing a profession, preparing for a choice in the field of professional activity and creating an effective and successful career”. Agency services were absolutely free. The bureau’s board of trustees included the most progressive citizens of the city: presidents of colleges, trade union and religious leaders, prominent representatives of business, culture, art and government officials.


The principles of the bureau’s work meant deliberate, not random choice of profession, comprehensive familiarization with labor market opportunities. A special role was assigned to professional counselors as psychodiagnostics and tutors in one person.

Following the Career Bureau, vocational guidance offices, institutes and private services began to open in the USA, England, France and Germany. At the same time, from the moment of their appearance up to the 40s of the XX century, emphasis was placed on employment, which was related to the consequences of the war and high unemployment rate, in the 40–50s, at diagnosing aptitude in industrial production, from the 1970s - fostering the ability to make independent choices in young people and, as a result, moving away from mass psychodiagnostic methods in favor of individualized assistance to clients in the field of professional definition.

Thus, since the beginning of the XX century, goal-setting has become the primary element of the vocational guidance system, its key components are vocational education, vocational counseling, vocational selection and vocational adaptation and its major social institution is general education school.

The principle of assistance according to Parsons consists of three parts:

1) a clear view of yourself, your inclinations, abilities, interests, resources, limitations and other qualities;

2) knowledge of the requirements and conditions to achieve success in various areas of activity, as well as advantages, disadvantages and development prospects in these areas;

3) the ability to properly correlate the factors of the first and second group.


How It All Works  

Despite a significant number of both as well as public or private employment services, the leading role of careers counselingin the United States plays a counseling service “Guidance” which operates in all schools. Its structure has five departments. Inventory Department collects information about every student. The Information directorate provides support to schoolchildren in academic, vocational and personal-social areas. The Consultation Department is responsible for organizing individual and group meetings with students. The Hiring Department assists graduates in finding employment, and the Control Department collects information about the fate of graduates of schools. 

Certified experts, who are prepared in the Guidance faculties of pedagogical colleges and universities, work in Guidance. For admission to such a faculty, the pedagogical experience from 2 to 5 years, the diploma of the master of pedagogy and the positive characteristic from the place of work are necessary. The tasks of the professional consultant include a familiarity of students with the world of professions, assistance in finding information about professions and their requirements, coordinating the work of school teachers and supporting parents in developing the interests and inclinations of their children. Professional consultations are held throughout the course of study in accordance with the law on professional consultation.

Along with professional consultations, a number of educational programs were launched, as well as the information network database “Occupational Information Network” which provides complete information on the content of professions, working conditions, professional and qualification requirements, a list of educational institutions where specialists are trained, and so on to improve the preparation of schoolchildren for future independent living. Interrelation of out-of-school and intra-school vocational guidance in France is carried out by counseling counselors. 


Most of them have many years of experience as teachers or school psychologists, and all without exception - a diploma of a counselor on the orientation in higher education. The filling of vacancies in the staff of information and orientation centers, of which there are more than 500 in France, is held on a competitive basis. The centers are endowed with great powers, interact with public organizations, are engaged in research of labor markets and have the opportunity to influence the professional choice of graduates. The high rates of professional self-determination of French youth are among their merits.

In the UK and in France, a key role in the vocational guidance system is played by professional advisors, and the inclusion of vocational guidance courses in the school curriculum is imperative. As in the United States, professional advisors are full-time employees of schools. At the same time, the British system is characterized by two features:  the existence of numerous of scientific approaches in career guidance work and the combination of career guidance services with employment assistance.

Goal-setting is the primary element of the vocational guidance system.

There are no specialized vocational guidance institutions in Sweden. This competence, among others, is vested in the regional youth employment committees, which include school principals representing the interests of graduates. At the same time, due to the high level of information support for vocational guidance and publicly accessible data banks, the Swedish model has reduced the number of unemployed in the country by more than two times over the past 15 years. The specifics of the Chinese system of vocational guidance resulted from a shortage of places in higher education institutions of the native country, where the competition in some universities reaches 200–300 people per place, and is primarily focused on the study of foreign languages in order to continue studying abroad. 

At the same time, teaching schoolchildren in labor occupations to obtain future jobs in companies is widespread. Schoolchildren of Singapore in the transition to the highest level of general education schools are divided by abilities on three streams (medium, special and exceptionally talented), where each category offers its own career and professional perspectives. Singapore’s declared government policy is continuing education for citizens, depending on their abilities and motivation to acquire new knowledge in accordance with actual demands of the labor market.


In Japan, children get an idea of the professions in elementary school.

The foundations of modern career guidance in Japan were laid by the Rector of Asia University Shigekazu Fukuyama, after which the career guidance system was named “F-test”. All career guidance work on the methodology of Professor Fukuyama is deeply integrated into school education. It includes three components: introspection, occupational analysis and professional testing. Children get an idea of the professions in the younger school, but unlike other countries in high school special emphasis is placed on professional adaptation. For 3 years, students in grades 7–9 have time to try themselves in at least 48 different specialties. After completed professional tests, an analysis of the results is carried out. School teachers assess each of the acquired skills on a five-point scale and give their recommendations on choosing a field of activity and continuing education. By the end of school, the Japanese schoolboy quite clearly understands what he will become in the future.


For Russia, the experience of Japan is interesting, including the fact that shortly before the collapse of the Soviet Union, it was Fukuyama's technique that was chosen for an innovative renewal of career guidance throughout the country. The same method is the basis of adaptation programs of the largest companies in Silicon Valley, where each employee passes the “young fighter course”, during 19-24 months of training in various departments and getting not only an understanding of how the company works, but also self-awareness, matching the nature of work to their skills and abilities. 

Analyzing the domestic experience of career guidance, the researchers note primarily the lack of a systematic approach to the problem and ignoring the principle of the life cycle in the chain “School– University– Labor Market”. With all the wealth of experience in the professional orientation of young people and the presence in the Russian market a significant number of big players in both the public sector and business, career guidance as a key factor in ensuring the employment of young people and, as a result, meeting the needs of the economy in highly qualified specialists in general is fragmented, is not organized, controlled and effective. 

The Request of the Customer

Despite the Herculean efforts in the organization and continuous monitoring of achievements, aptitudes and interests of students, compiling their portfolio and inclusion of all this information in professional consultation and selection of applicants to continue professional education in colleges or universities, according to overseas studies, more than a third of employers believe that graduates are not ready for the job search. 


Young professionals often enter the labor market with an extensive set of professional knowledge, but with an unformed system of professional preferences, without any clear concept of career development. This is one of the reasons that a significant part of graduates consciously do not work in their specialty or cannot find a job in it. 

What is really important for students to know from the very first year of study at the University is the real needs of their future employers. So, in particular, internships and any other work experience in the specialty, knowledge of the organizations where they send resumes, and the industries in which they work, skills of written and oral communication, adaptability, the ability to manage multiple priorities and having the skills to solve problems will be a much more significant advantage for taking a hiring decision of a young specialist than the assessment in the diploma. 

The key message of the employer to higher education is that colleges and universities should find ways to help students apply their knowledge in the real world. For an employer, the entire academic background of a graduate is relevant only when the student can demonstrate that his / her educational experience meets the needs of the employer. All this suggests that universities need to revise their approaches to the educational process, shifting the emphasis from deep subject training to the activation of professional self-determination of students. 

The transition to the model of lifelong learning, increasing market demands for young professionals pose the task of training students not only in the areas of vocational training, but also the development of universal skills, the so-called soft skills, as well as consulting support for professional choice, employment and career development together with employers.


Vision of the Future. IBM's Business Experience 

Back in the early 2000s, IBM realized that colliding with the global evolution would inevitably change traditional national landscapes of value creation processes. For transnational companies it means first of all changes in approaches to human capital at all stages of the production life cycle.

If organizations are unable to develop globally integrated approaches to their human resources, it will not be possible to realize the full potential of global approaches in other areas in the coming years. 

By the beginning of the experiment at IBM in the market, there were no examples of successful predictive analytics capabilities and needs in the labor force, which could serve as a guide for planning the recruitment, decision-making on promotions of employees and the company's strategy as a whole. At that time, the ecosystem of the Corporation included 350 thousand full-time employees, tens of thousands of applicants for vacancies and about 90 thousand contractors. The key idea of the initiative was to create a comprehensive database that, on the one hand, would serve as a basis for decision–making on staff mobility and development, supplier management and resource planning, and, on the other, to develop an approach to the workplace as a system that continuously adapts to the current needs of the labor market, rather than a static repository of information on the necessary knowledge and skills. 

In terms of talent management and translation of business goals and objectives into specific requirements, the key steps were: 1) creation and implementation of a taxonomy - a single language for describing jobs, their qualifications and creating common profiles; 2) formation of a centralized data warehouse; 3) creation of opportunities for rapid comparison of labor resources with demand and proactive identification of their surpluses/shortcomings directly related to the business strategy; 4) application of the supply chain management model in the practice of working with personnel. 


At the stage of describing the system processes, developers are faced with the fact that the metaphor of the supply chain has some restrictions on people. What was easy to digitize in materials or parts was ill-suited to creating classifiers of knowledge, skills or experience. At the same time, there was no understanding of the principle of reasonable sufficiency of the framework: what features should be described and how deeply. The same work could be performed under different profiles in different professional fields. Or, on the contrary, the same profile of “IT-architect” meant different descriptions in different departments of business or in different professional disciplines. The creation of a system based only on the competence approach with differences in such individual attributes as vision or communication skills was too universal. 

In the end, the developers came to the conclusion that none of the traditional approaches to creating labor classifiers were sufficient to support their vision. Each had distinct advantages and disadvantages. The trick was to take the best of each and create a new approach that could smooth out the flaws and benefit from the advantages. 

Thus, in the taxonomy of IBM there were descriptions of job roles, skill sets for these roles and their details, characterizing the totality of the essence of the activities of a specialist and the level of his/her skills, as well as the ability to build a forecast for the development of skills and the development of new jobs with more than 40 thousand of training resources (both external and internal). The Corporation was able to make the system part of the daily work of all employees, managers, heads and members of the ecosystem thanks to the support of IBM business structures, which saw it as an opportunity to respond to rapidly changing trends in the industry and in the market. The taxonomy update is based on the value provided to the customer, translated into employee qualifications. The system is updated at least once a year, but in fact whenever businessmen or experts identify a gap in it, comparable to the cost of the client for the company. 


The IBM experience demonstrates how the creation of self-developing ecosystems in partnership with all stakeholders allows us to design obvious development opportunities, to make the system global, transparent, cost-effective and useful for all its participants. The new reality is that no organization and no state can provide any guarantees for employment projections in the long term. The world is changing rapidly, and even the best projections of future labor market demand and supply must be constantly reviewed. Continuous changes in modern life mean that we do not know what the new jobs will be, but with such systems there is a way to transmit the signal from need to action much faster. And our teachers, schoolchildren, students and young professionals, included in such global systems of career guidance and development, will have little, but still time to prepare and respond to the challenges of the era. 

Self-realization and self-awareness, commitment, entrepreneurial approach and drive, individual trajectories and personalization by ability - these global trends of modern education in the 90s of XX century management consultants Don Beck and Chris Kovan attributed to the “culture of success” — competitive on the one hand and opening up new opportunities on the other. The essence of the approach of Beck and Kovan, which they called “spiral dynamics”, was that people, teams, public institutions, companies and even entire countries go through certain typical stages in their development, for which the most natural visual representation is a spiral. 

Over time, however, the trends of growing individualism in the system have been replaced by a culture of search, dialogue and long– term development - a culture of harmony. A culture of transforming entrepreneurial ideas into reality. Culture of disclosure of innovative and creative abilities, synergy of business and education. A culture characterized by personal competence, the ability to create value and the ability to transform knowledge into results. This is the challenge of the modern world-a combination of individual approach and harmonious work of the ecosystem for the benefit of society. The opportunity to do something together when breakthrough ideas, projects and results are born at the junctures of interaction between different communities, disciplines and institutions.

Ask any question