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Are Adults Making Use of Career Services in Canada?

Career services represent an important way for Canadians to attain reliable and accurate labour market information (LMI), such as job opportunities, potential earnings and skill requirements, as well as a wide range of supports to support success in learning and work.

Career services can range from helping people new to the job market understand different career pathways, to identifying education and training opportunities for mid-career workers, to providing job search strategies that best fit the needs of different clients.

Key findings

Almost one in five adults aged 25–64 have received career services in the past five years, compared to half of youth aged 18–24.

Nearly everyone who engaged with career services reported some positive impact, although many report key gaps in the provision of labour market information. Yet large numbers of Canadians are not accessing career services, either because they are not aware of them, don’t feel the need for them or face access barriers. And compared to other OECD countries, the use of career services is much lower in Canada.

Wider awareness about career services is needed in Canada, especially for groups most vulnerable to career disruptions. Equipping career service providers with labour market information tools, skills and capacity to better serve the needs of Canadians will be critical moving forward.

Career development professionals are trained to make the best use of human talent in the labour market by connecting individuals with career pathways and opportunities that work for them, ultimately leading to improved performance at work and in education.

In 2021, LMIC and the Future Skills Centre set out to understand how Canadian adults aged 25–64 access career services and what information they receive when doing so.

We surveyed over 3,000 Canadians on the most common types of labour market information they received as well as any reported changes the services had on their life and work. This analysis helped us identify current gaps and challenges in accessing career services in Canada, an issue of acute importance considering the massive job disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

This Insight Report is an extension of the OECD Survey of Career Guidance for Adults, with questions adapted for the Canadian context, and is organized as follows: Section 1 explores who uses adult career services in Canada; Section 2 discusses the most common information, delivery formats and effects of career services; Section 3 summarizes why career services are not accessed by more people; and Section 4 identifies the implications of this data as well as future considerations.

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