Canadians experiencing high degree of career regret, new national survey finds

Career professionals report their clients felt pressured into choosing careers they didn’t want to pursue

Toronto, Jan. 27, 2020 – More than 7 in 10 Canadians who see a career counsellor or coach say they wish they had made different career decisions earlier in their lives, according to a national survey of 1,300+ career service professionals undertaken by CERIC. The results are being released at Cannexus, Canada’s largest career development conference, which will be held Jan. 27-29 at the Shaw Centre in Ottawa.

The career professionals surveyed report that they often hear from the students and adults they advise that they would go back and change their career choices if they could. They report that among their clients:

  • 71.7% say “I wish I had understood myself better and chosen a career that is aligned with my values”
  • 66.5% say “I wish I hadn’t been pressured into pursuing a career I didn’t want to pursue”
  • 61% say “I wish I hadn’t played it safe and let fear prevent me from taking a different career direction”
  • 58.8% say “I wish I hadn’t narrowed my options so soon and been able to explore other careers”

The findings point to the need for Canadians to have better career development skills, starting at a young age and continuing throughout their lives, says John Horn, chair of the board of CERIC, a national charity focused on research and education in career development. These skills include the ability to identify what to learn for the jobs of the future and how to develop the emotional resilience to navigate change – and not be limited by other people’s expectations or our own doubts.

“We all want to have work that makes us spring out of bed in the morning – that feeds our souls and allows us to create the life we want for ourselves and our families,” says Horn.

Canadians want to balance their search for a career they are passionate about with economic realities, say career counsellors surveyed. Their clients are evenly divided, with 45.3% anxious about making the “right” career decision and 49.4% concerned about their ability to find decent-paying work. Of note, only 3.2% of career professionals report that their clients are fearful of AI/automation and what that means for their job prospects, which differs from would be expected given the level of public discussion around technology displacing workers.

Career professionals also identified a number of persistent myths about career development that are constraining people’s ability to find rewarding careers – foremost among them that the vast majority think career guidance ends in Grade 12:

  • 85.2% agree that most Canadians don’t know that career guidance is available beyond high school
  • 82.1% agree that most Canadians think that careers are linear, moving from post-secondary to a job in your field
  • 79.3% agree that most Canadians believe that choosing a career means deciding what to do for the rest of your life
  • 51.2% agree that most Canadians feel that if they only follow their passion, they will land their dream job

Canadians at every age should know that there are professionals they can turn to for career support, says Horn. While teachers, parents and managers all have a role to play, professional career guidance is available, often for free in post-secondary career centres and community agencies, as well as from fee-based, private-sector career coaches.

“Canadians need to take charge of their career development to make the most of their talent and potential – there are professionals who can help,” Horn says. “Working with a career professional can help people identify personal strengths, clarify career goals and build the strategies to pursue a satisfying life.”

To arrange an interview, obtain a media pass for the Cannexus conference or for more information, please contact:

Sharon Ferriss
Senior Director, Marketing & Communications, CERIC
sharon@ceric.ca | 647.466.0564

About CERIC

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; annually hosts Cannexus, Canada’s largest bilingual career development conference; and publishes the country’s only peer-reviewed academic journal, Canadian Journal of Career Development. www.ceric.ca

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Media Advisory – New rules of career engagement being written at Cannexus 2019, Canada’s largest career conference

Ottawa, Jan. 16, 2019 – There is a new work order and 1,200 career development professionals from across the country will converge in Ottawa from Jan. 28-30 to tackle how to help Canadians navigate it. The largest conference of its kind in Canada, Cannexus 2019 will explore the disruption that is changing how we define work, find jobs, develop skills and succeed in the labour market.

What: Cannexus National Career Development Conference

When: January 28-30, 2019, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Where: Shaw Centre, 55 Colonel By Dr., Ottawa

John Horn, chair of the board of directors of CERIC, the organizer of Cannexus (who also leads organizational development and learning at Vancity Credit Union) will be at the conference and available –  along with other career development experts –  to discuss workforce trends:

  • Studies predict that by 2020 nearly half of Canadians will be self-employed in the gig economy. So, how can we help people avoid underemployment and precarious work?
  • Despite some missteps, there are hopes that artificial intelligence can overcome bias in hiring and help traditionally marginalized groups in the labour market avoid discrimination
  • Combatting ageism in the workforce, as Statistics Canada shows more Canadians than ever aged 55 and over delaying retirement
  • At a time when 80% of resumes are rejected in fewer than 11 seconds, jobseekers are adopting creative job search and personal branding strategies to stand out
  • With employers like Shopify valuing abilities over academic credentials, there is a move toward just-in-time, self-directed, one-size-fits-one micro training to build skills and stay relevant
  • The growing role of work-integrated learning (e.g., co-ops, internships, entrepreneurship) in preparing post-secondary graduates to be career-ready and not “generation jobless”
  • How the opportunity to work is increasingly being recognized as a significant factor in positive mental health, and what career management skills can do to increase overall well-being (the final day of the conference, Jan. 30, coincides with Bell Let’s Talk Day)

Keynotes at Cannexus kick off with Deborah Saucier, President of Edmonton-based MacEwan University. Saucier contends that though public anxiety is high over so-called “useless” degrees – those that don’t lead directly to jobs but lead to the devaluation of arts degrees in favour of STEM – the “soft” skills that are developed during any degree stand remarkably strong against disruption.

The final keynote features former Governor General the Right Honourable David Johnston in conversation with one of his five daughters, Alex Johnston, about the role of trust in building a better Canada for all.

Among the more than 200 presenters at the conference are:

  • Wendy Cukier, Academic Director and Professor, Diversity, Ryerson University
  • Jake Hirsch-Allen, Learning Solutions for Higher Education Lead, LinkedIn
  • Steven Tobin, Executive Director, Labour Market Information Council
  • Nancy Wilson, CEO, Canadian Women’s Chamber of Commerce
  • Lauren Shanahan, Director of Talent Attraction, SSENSE
  • Madeleine Barker, Senior Director, Strategic Workforce Initiatives, RBC
  • Jocelyne Voisin, Director General of Youth and Skills Innovation, Employment and Social Development Canada
  • Shaun Thorson, CEO, Skills Canada
  • Jan Basso, Assistant Vice-President, Experiential Learning & Career Development, Wilfrid Laurier University
  • Kofi Hope, Founding Executive Director, CEE Centre for Young Black Professionals

The full agenda for the conference is available at: https://cannexus.ca/cannexus19-schedule/. Follow the Cannexus National Career Development Conference on Twitter at @cannexus or with the hashtag: #Cannexus19.

About CERIC

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; annually hosts Cannexus, Canada’s largest bilingual career development conference; and publishes the country’s only peer-reviewed academic journal, Canadian Journal of Career Development. www.ceric.ca

To obtain a media pass, to arrange interviews or for further information:

Sharon Ferriss
Director, Marketing, CERIC
sharon@ceric.ca | 647.466.0564

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Ottawa, Jan. 10, 2018 – The Cannexus National Career Development Conference will bring 1,000 career development professionals together in Ottawa from Jan. 22-24, 2018 to explore the skills and strategies required by the workforce of tomorrow. The biggest annual event in the country for professionals working in career counselling, employment and workforce development comes as Canada takes on the 2018 G7 Presidency and focuses on “Preparing for jobs of the future.”

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