Half of Canadians wish they had sought more career planning advice, survey finds

TORONTO, March 10, 2015 /CNW/ - One in two Canadians who have not had career counselling say they would have sought professional career planning or employment advice if they could do it over again, a new survey has found.

"There is recognition that just like you need a financial planner and other professionals in your life, you also need professional advice to successfully manage your career," said Jan Basso, chair of the Canadian Education and Research Institute for Counselling (CERIC), which commissioned the survey along with The Counselling Foundation of Canada.

Basso, who is also director of co-operative education and career development at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ont., said the need for career guidance is particularly acute with ongoing skills and experience mismatches, and with rapid changes in the Canadian employment landscape, citing the oil and gas and retail sectors as examples.  

The survey of 1,500 adult Canadians looks at how they use career and employment counselling services. Three groups emerge from the findings – those who define themselves as having a "career," those who define themselves as having a "job" and students. Those with careers say their careers fit with their post-secondary background or required a degree, diploma or specific training. Those with jobs say no specific education was required or it was the best job they could find. At 55%, those working in careers make up the largest category of respondents.

More than half of those with a career (53%) said they had sought advice from a career professional. Those with a job accessed counselling services less than those with a career at just under four in 10 (38%). Among both those with careers and jobs who did not seek career or employment counselling, half agreed that they should have obtained more professional advice (47% and 50% respectively).

Canadians reported that when they were considering career options, they were most likely to have met with a:

  • High school guidance counsellor (55%)
  • Career counsellor at a post-secondary institution (40%)
  • Person involved in human resources or career management at their place of work (27%)
  • Specialist at a community-based employment centre (26%)
  • Recruiter or headhunter (21%)

Barriers to accessing career services mentioned in the survey include Canadians not believing they need career counselling since they already know their career goals and a lack of familiarity with the different career services available.

"Career professionals come in a variety of forms, from high school guidance counsellors to private career coaches," said Riz Ibrahim, CERIC's executive director. "Some can be accessed for free and for some, there is a cost. It's understandable that people might need assistance to determine the right type of services for their needs."

Canadians can access career professionals for far more than writing resumes, Ibrahim said. Career professionals provide guidance on career planning, advancing one's career or making a career transition whether a student, mid-career changer or retiree. They also help people identify their interests and skills and to understand the job market as well as education or training opportunities. Career professionals also work with organizations to ensure they have the right people with the right skills through a range of human resources practices.

Students in the survey list parents, other family members and friends as individuals they have consulted about their career and employment ambitions. Teachers and professors also appear as important sources of advice around career options. A majority of current students (58%) report that they are likely to seek advice from career or employment counsellors.

Survey findings show that as age rises, the number of Canadians with careers seeking career counselling declines. Those 18–24 years of age are most likely to report that they have used career counselling services at 76%. More women (57%) than men (50%) report having accessed career services. In terms of location, more residents of Ontario (61%) sought advice from a career professional compared with residents of Quebec (49%), Atlantic Canada (46%) and BC (45%).

About the survey

Navigator Limited conducted the nationwide survey on behalf of the Canadian Education and Research Institute for Counselling and The Counselling Foundation of Canada. The study was conducted among adult Canadians 18 years of age or older, and was in the field between November 16 and November 23, 2014. It used an online methodology among a national, proportionate sample of 1,500 respondents. A random sample of those 1,500 would yield a margin of error of +2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

The complete report, Nationwide Survey: Accessing Career and Employment Counselling Services, is available online at www.ceric.ca/perspectives.


The Canadian Education and Research Institute for Counselling (CERIC) is a charitable organization that advances education and research in career counselling and career development, in order to increase the economic and social well-being of Canadians. It funds projects to develop innovative resources that build the knowledge and skills of diverse career professionals. CERIC also annually hosts Cannexus, Canada's largest bilingual career development conference, publishes the country's only peer-reviewed journal, The Canadian Journal of Career Development and runs the free ContactPoint / OrientAction online communities, which provide learning and networking in the career field. www.ceric.ca

SOURCE Canadian Education and Research Institute for Counselling

Image with caption: "Half of Canadians wish they had sought more career planning advice, survey finds (CNW Group/Canadian Education and Research Institute for Counselling)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20150310_C4887_PHOTO_EN_12970.jpg

For further information: Sharon Ferriss, Director, Marketing, Web & New Media, CERIC, sharon@ceric.ca | 647.466.0564; Riz Ibrahim, Executive Director, CERIC, riz@ceric.ca | 416.929.2510


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