Guidance and career guidance services have been defined both by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD, 2004) and by a World Bank report (Watts and Fretwell, 2004) as services designed to help people, at any age and at any time in their life, make educational, training and professional choices and manage their careers.
They include three main elements:
- Career information, relative to courses, occupations, career paths, and the labor market. This aspect mostly relies on Web resources, although information may also be provided in paper format.
- Career advising, on an individual or group basis (small size). The focus is on the distinctive career problems faced by individuals.
- Professional training, as part of the training curriculum, where attention is given to helping groups of individuals develop skills to manage their professional development.
Career orientation is about helping people to choose from the full range of opportunities available, about their skills, interests, and distinctive values. In the past, a distinction has often been made between “educational orientation”, which concerns the choices of the course, and “professional orientation”, relatively to professional choices. This was based on the opinion that educational choices preceded, or should be separated from, vocational choices.
This opinion is now widely considered obsolete. Changes in the workplace mean that more people are now making several changes in their career direction throughout their lives and have to learn new skills to do so. Therefore, more and more, learning and work are intertwined, for a lifetime. Careers are not commonly “chosen” at a single point in time, but “constructed” through a series of related learning and work choices made throughout life. This led to a new paradigm in vocational guidance designed to support the development of a permanent career. The political importance attached to career guidance has been significantly elevated over the last decade through a series of analyses of related policies conducted by many international organizations including the OECD (2004), the World Bank (Watts and Fretwell, 2004), and the European Parliament Commission and its agencies.
Every career for people working in organizations started with the job searching phase. During this time and also prior to this, it is fundamental to develop and increase employability. This concept has been described in many ways over the years and it’s often strictly bounded with education. Very often the core notion of employability relates to the propensity of students to obtain a job (Harvey, 2001). Employability processes are sometimes also confused with outcomes. “Employability-linked learning is likely to continue to be subject to crude measures of outcome, such as the proportion of graduates who achieve a full-time job within a specified period. In the UK, for example, `first-destination returns’ are logged after six months as employability performance indicators and there is considerable pragmatic pressure from government and funding agency circles to `keep employability simple’'” (Harvey, 2001) So, in effect, employability is being de facto equated with the gaining and retaining of fulfilling work (Hillage & Pollard, 1998). Because of this sort of equation measuring employability could happen to be tricky. Despite this, the advancement of employability within the workplace and among young individuals, the unemployed, and other possibly impeded groups in the work environment remains an important goal for the European Employment Strategy, defined in 2003, which underscores three overarching goals: full work; quality and efficiency at work. Whereas the first EU procedure included employability as an important part of its approach, the more adaptable, longer-term technique presently pushed by the European Commission talks of promoting more and way better ‘investment in human capital and techniques for lifelong learning’. In any case, this and numerous of the Commission’s other rules for executing the procedure reflect the focus on employability (McQuaid and Lindsay, 2004)
Fully connected with employability and decision- making this research project proposes a survey about the analysis of the decision-making skills of career using as a reference model the Organizational Support Theory by Levinson. Investigating the perception of the support that an organization can give to workers and employees is useful to support organizational actions towards wellbeing and achieve the mission of the organization. This support has resulted at two different levels: the organizational level and the individual one. If workers and employees perceive a lack of organizational support, they could implement disadvantageous and inappropriate behaviors towards the company they belong to. This is all contemplated in the Theory of Planned Behaviour by Ajzen.
Finally, on the one hand, employability needs to be improved from a young age, on the other hand, if the employability went well and the individual starts a career there will be many choices to make that could influence work-life in many ways. As important as employability if not even more it surely is career decision-making that also can and need to be learned and developed.
Watts, A. G. and Fretwell, D. (2004). “Public Policies for Career Development”. Washington DC, World Bank.
G. Watts (2013). “Career guidance and orientation”. UNESCO
Lee Harvey (2001) Defining and Measuring Employability, Quality in Higher Education, Vol. 7, No. 2
Ronald W. McQuaid and Colin Lindsay (2004) The Concept of Employability, Urban Studies, Vol. 42, No. 2, 197– 219, February 2005