Canada’s career practitioners are likely to be female and well-educated but only modestly compensated. Many are evaluating the work they do by tracking client satisfaction or intervention outcomes. They also recognize that social media is an important tool for career services but only a small proportion is aware how to use these tools. These are just a few of the many findings in CERIC’s new Survey of Career Service Professionals.

Released at Cannexus12 in Ottawa, the survey results explore research and education issues as well as career competency and mobility among people employed in career development. The results offer a snapshot of the career services community including professional development and information needs. The online survey was conducted between October 14 and November 18, 2011. A total of 1,013 respondents completed the survey, representing a broad cross-section of the field. Participants were recruited via CERIC’s e-mail lists. CERIC also gratefully acknowledges the Supporting Organizations that forwarded the survey to their members and networks, and all who took the time to complete the survey.

Highlights from the survey include:

  1. The field has a much higher ratio of females (79%) compared to males (21%). The gender-based disparity is likely to increase in the next 15 years.
  2. Almost four in 10 have a Bachelor’s Degree as their highest level of educational attainment while another 44 percent obtained a Master’s Degree, higher than the general population.
  3. More than half of those in the field work in one of two sectors as 32 percent find themselves employed in the not-for-profit sector (including charities) and another 27 percent are in the post-secondary education sector.
  4. Close to one-fifth (19%) make less than $40,000 per year, while about one-third (32%) receive between $40,000 and $55,000 annually. Furthermore, 23 percent make between $55,001 and $70,000 and just 13 percent have a yearly salary or income of $70,000 to $85,000.
  5. Receiving training in-person is preferred over accessing learning remotely. In-person workshops / seminars (51%) are rated as the most preferred type of training followed by conferences (45%).
  6. Six out of 10 career service professionals evaluate the impact of their career counselling / career development program or services with 57 percent assessing client satisfaction and 53 percent examining client outcome (i.e. job/return to school).
  7. No particular research topic is a clear favourite. Graduate employment – post secondary (12%) is the most popular theme followed by research related to people with disabilities (9%) and immigrants / integration of new Canadians (8%).
  8. A majority of the career service professional community believes that having a professional certification is valuable to their work. Nearly four in 10 (37%) believe it is very important and almost one-third (31%) think that it is important.
  9. The potential to oversee those who provide career services is attractive to almost half of the career service professional community with 18 percent of respondents very interested in becoming a manager.
  10. While 65 percent of career professionals believe social media is very important or important, over four in 10 either never or rarely use it for professional purposes (16% and 26%).

CERIC plays a key role in generating primary data about the career development field. The organization also tracks how Canadians feel about their place of work, career planning and training. Findings from these research activities inform stakeholders on sector conditions and attitudes about the workplace. CERIC also uses this material to customize its programs to meet practitioner needs and sector realities.

The winner of the free Cannexus12 registration for having completed the survey is Marc Tyrrell, Senior Research Fellow, Canadian Centre of Intelligence and Security Studies, at Carleton University. Tyrell was the first anthropologist in Canada to conduct extensive field work in the career transition industry and later worked as a Senior Career Transition Counsellor during the Nortel downsizings.  His current research draws on this background to examine social stability in times of conflict and rapid technological change.

Learn more about the survey from our Highlights Report and PowerPoint presentation (available in French and English) on our website. Further information delving more deeply into the results will be presented throughout 2012.