The contribution employers make to career guidance

Getting people into jobs is important for the economy and society.  A key element of this is the provision of accurate, timely and appropriate career information, advice and guidance to jobseekers.  Employers themselves have an important contribution to make to this process.

What is career guidance?

Career guidance is defined as “services intended to assist people, of any age and at any point throughout their lives, to make educational, training and occupational choices and to manage their careers” (OECD, 2004).   

Scope of the research

Individuals who are looking for work or moving between low paid work and unemployment comprise a large and complex population.  The focus of this research is on how employers, through career guidance, can support individuals to engage or re-engage with employment opportunities. The research includes the following groups:

  • Individuals who are moving between low-pay work and unemployment
  • Longer-term unemployed individuals who are progressing towards the labour market
  • Young people with problematic transitions to the labour market (those not in employment, education or training).
  • Individuals currently in Further Education who are seeking imminent transition to the labour market.
  • Those at risk of or recently made redundant.

The role of employers

Employers’ contribution to career advice can take a number of forms and can include methods that are both direct (with unemployed people) and indirect (working in partnership with intermediaries including, for example, career guidance and welfare-to-work organisations).  
There are a number of challenges and benefits associated with the engagement of employers in career guidance activities.  Challenges may include resource constraints, limited planning horizons and concerns over the potential employability of unemployed people.  The range of benefits include the development of effective recruitment and retention processes, opportunities to address skills gaps/shortages and wider considerations in relation to Corporate Social Responsibility.  Employers’ willingness or desire to engage may alter according to economic circumstances and depending upon the nature of their business (size, sector, growth trajectory, labour market needs etc.).

Aim of the research

The UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) is seeking to gain a greater understanding of the role that employers can and do play in the delivery of effective career guidance that culminates in sustainable jobs.  The project includes a survey to identify good practice, a literature review and the development of a number of case studies.  This timely and exciting research is due to report in January 2012.

Aim of this survey

This survey provides an opportunity for stakeholders to share experiences and insights and identify good practice in relation to the role of employers in supporting career guidance. 

Who should respond to the research?

We would like to hear from all stakeholders that have an interest in this area, in particular:

  • Employer representative
  • Individual employers
  • Career guidance organisations and practitioners including community and voluntary sector based career services
  • Welfare to Work providers, FE Colleges, Work Based Learning Providers
  • Government departments (Department for Work and Pensions; Department for Business, Innovation and Skills)

If you would like to contribute to this research, please follow the link below:

  • If you are responding to the research as a practitioner or intermediary with a policy or practical interest in the role of employers providing career guidance click here
  • If you are responding to the research as an employer providing career advice and guidance click here

The deadline for responses is Friday 11th November 2011. 

If you have any queries about the research please contact James Clark on (0044) 113 8121795 or


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