Career Development in 2040 report cover

Two major reports have emerged from a CERIC-funded research project led by Creative Futures, which examined how work and career development may evolve between now and 2040 and what that might mean for career development professionals. The research involved an extensive literature review, interviews with career services users, and virtual workshops and interviews with career development professionals (CDPs). It sought to answer three key questions: 

  1. What are the macro factors redefining the changing workplace and career paths 
  2. What is the future role and identity of career developers? 
  3. What career-oriented services and supports will people need in the future, and how will current services need to adapt to meet these needs? 

Overall, the purpose of this research was to identify how the career development sector, advocacy organizations and policymakers need to prepare for 2040 and beyond. By creating a greater understanding of the range of possible futures we might expect, these reports aim to motivate action that ensures workers across Canada have the support they need to prepare and adjust to the futures of work. 

Preparing for Possible Scenarios of Work & Careers” (January 2024) draws on potential future scenarios to explore how career development services may change and how the role of CDPs may evolve by 2040. The report outlines 9 Key Insights (with 15 accompanying Recommended Actions) about career development in 2040: 

  1. CDPs want to be prepared for possible futures. 
  2. Everyone will need lifelong career development. 
  3. Career developers have skills employers need, but sometimes lack. 
  4. AI and new tech will transform career development. 
  5. Geographic boundaries are expanding for CDPs. 
  6. K-12 and post-secondary career guidance is insufficient.  
  7. CDPs have invaluable insights and advice about critical changes needed related to education, labour markets and more. 
  8. CDP terminology is evolving.  
  9. CDPs’ wages are not viewed as competitive for attracting talent.  

Two related documents summarize relevant findings for policymakers and career developers: 

  • The “Policymakers Summary” (January 2024) finds that current funding models prevent a proactive approach to career development and notes the importance of expanding and reassessing funding supports and services to better meet the career needs of individuals in a changing world of work. It identifies recommended actions for policymakers based on the research findings. 
  • The “Career Development Sector Summary” (January 2024) synthesizes how career developers identified that their profession might change, based on their exploration of the trends identified in the “Career Development in 2040” report. This summary highlights three areas of focus for the career development sector: advocate for and promote the value of career development professionals; advocate for “preventative” and lifelong career development; and support and prepare career development professionals for their own futures. 

Career Development in 2040: 10 Major Changes Impacting the Futures of Work and Workers in Canada(October 2023) dives deep into the major changes with the potential to impact career development in 2040. It highlights 10 major trends (and 32 microtrends) that are anticipated to shape the future world of work and the role of CDPs: 

  • Work Anywhere    
  • AI & Automation    
  • Living with Climate Change    
  • Geopolitical Conflicts    
  • Reconciling the Impacts of Colonialism    
  • Economic Precarity    
  • Globalization Under Pressure    
  • Education, Disrupted    
  • Declining Mental Health & Well-being    
  • Generational Shifts 

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