This section provides resources for "making the case" for careers, referring to both challenges that careers services can tackle and evidence that such services work.

Careers support for Adults-in-work has attracted less research attention than for other parts of the population. This is in part because careers support is often provided by private career coaches or employers,  so outside of the public systems where data can be captured and aggregated. That said, with the increasing likelihood of an ageing population, coupled with the increasing need to reskill or upskill more frequently, the topic of an ‘all age career service’ is being frequently discussed once more. 

As well as drivers emanating from the external environment, we know that there are changes in motivation through a working career, and the likelihood of individuals experiencing “career shocks”, that have been covered by career guidance intervention research. 


  1. Headlines - Headlines that summarise the high level purpose and value of careers interventions.

  2. Landscape & contexts - Reviews and analysis that describe the environment in which CEIAG operates, and overall impact of CEIAG

  3. Case studies - Examples of realising different, specific benefits for service recipients, and applying to theory to practice

  4. Future research questions - Informed by our stakeholders, some candidate topics for future research projects

  5. Relevant institutions - Prominent research-active organisations, either commissioning or producing evidence.

  6. Journals/publications - Relevant journals and publications for further research

  7. Data sources - Open national and international datasets on this group, to provide context, trends and comparisons.

1. Headlines

Explicit or implicit arguments for investment in careers services for adults has come from a range of sources. For example:

  • Significant and growing numbers of the UK population are expressing job dissatisfaction and adopting transactional relationships with their work e.g. CIPD (2023).

  • There is a prevalent experience amongst the population of feeling unable to develop one’s career within their current job e.g.  CIPD (2023).

  • Low skilled adults require specific tailored and high quality support to overcome their unique challenges e.g. Barnes, S.A. et al (2016)

  • Changing career motivations exist through the lifespan, suggesting a need for careers support to help adapt and maintain job and career satisfaction e.g. Van der Heijden et al (2020)  Individuals gain benefits from continuing to learn across the life course to physical and mental health e.g. Schiller, (2017). Careers support can be a catalyst to such learning e.g. McNair (2014). (The Government outlined a strategy to support careers across the lifecourse in 2021 in their Skills for Jobs white paper (Department of Education, 2021))

  • Career shocks and events occur continually through a lifespan, so require continual management e.g. Cort (2008), Robinson (2013).

  • Adults in the working population who are motivated to progress can still suffer from inaction, creating unrealised potential e.g. Verbruggen (2020)

  • Adults can experience stress in their careers, particularly due to the external economic climate. However careers guidance can help clients gain the adaptability and resilience to cope e.g. Bimrose and Hearne (2012).

  • There are high levels of career regret amongst the working adult population, but regret can be managed constructively leading to positive outcomes e.g. Budjanovcanin, A. (2022).

  • Labour-market demands are creating the need for significant numbers of new skills and more career mobility amongst the present workforce, to address needs of the changing economy e.g. WEF (2023), Dickerson and Rossi (2023). Career guidance can be an enabler to creating career agility skills which help address labour market needs (Bimrose et al, 2011)

  • Many more skilled people will be needed in the low carbon sector, requiring adult transition or up/re-skilling as well as new recruits to help contribute to carbon reduction targets e.g. European Training Foundation (2022).

  • The Government introduced a lifelong loan entitlement (from 2025) as part of a lifelong learning strategy, creating opportunities for mid/later re-training (UK Government), 

CEIAG services have been demonstrated to offer positive impacts for individuals and wider society, as captured in several meta-reviews and specific larger-scale studies e.g.:

  • 98% of adults who received career guidance found it useful immediately after the event, and 68% still found it useful four years later, showing the longevity of impact (Bimrose et al, 2008).

  • Both national and International studies show that career guidance can be reliably impactful on the careers and lives of individuals, supporting adult transitions to education and in work. The effectiveness of support is increased when it is both timely and delivered by suitably qualified professionals (Neary et al, 2021).

  • Careers guidance can provide, from the average of international studies, a cost:benefit ratio of 3:1 for adults (Hooley et al, 2023).

NB: We cover Unemployment separately. We will also cover specific groups in separate pages: Women, Adult Ethnic Minorities, Adults with Disabilities and Self-Employment.  

2. Landscape & contexts

Selected publications, listed below, cover literature reviews and specific studies that help to make the case for careers investment by describing the context in which it operates, and reviewing literature to show the overall impact: 

The nature of CEIAG for adults covers a range of quite different contexts, covering support given in the community, from a public career service, from workplace-based programmes, private career coaching, and from career coaching ‘at the boundaries’ of other types of coaching, such as executive coaching.   

Publications tend to provide one or more of the following types of insight for practitioners, decision-makers or policy makers, denoted in the "Purpose" column below: U = Understanding users, needs and experiences, P = Practices and their evaluation, C = Supporting or informing the investment case for careers, E = Understanding enablers of success in systems, processes and workplaces, T=  Developing and criticising theories and frameworks. 

NB: We have generally tried to include resources that are free to access, but have included a few important studies that require payment. These are denoted by "(Paid)" next to the URL link in the title column.

Case studies are described in the section below, also denoting studies where theory has been applied to the design of a service, to generate particular outcomes.



Brief description


Euroguidance (n.d.), Good practices (Link)


This sources showcases a collection of ‘Good Guidance Practices’ across the EU, providing ideas and evidence to the international guidance community. The articles and reports cover all career stages and also different groups.


Kidd, Jennifer M. (1996) Career planning within work organisations. In: Watts, A.G. and Law, B. and Killeen, J. and Kidd, Jennifer M. and Hawthorn, R. (eds.) Rethinking Careers Education and Guidance: Theory, Policy and Practice. London: Routledge, pp. 189-209. ISBN 0415139759.


This chapter provides an overview of the various types of career interventions offered by organisations. It also discusses some of the potential benefits of these activities to individuals and employers, and highlights some of the issues that need to be resolved in the further development of guidance provision in this area. It comes during a period of macro-environment change, such as increased competition, that is leading to downsizing, interal restructering and delaying. Such realities have created uncertainties, as well as greater mobilities, more part time wroking and non standard employment contracts.


Killeen, J., & White, M. (2000). The impact of careers guidance on adult employed people. Great Britain, Department for Education and Employment. (Link)

The methodology involved tracking a sample of participants in guidance over a two-year period and comparing them with a non-participant sample over the same period. The study found: guidance services led to increased participation in education and training; guidance services did not result in greater job satisfaction


Kidd, J., C. Jackson and W. Hirsh (2003), “The outcomes of effective career discussion at work”, Journal of Vocational Behavior, Vol. 62/1, pp. 119-133, (Link) (Paid).


This article examines the outcomes that resulted from career discussions experienced by 104 employees. Employees appeared to benefit from discussions about their careers with individuals in a wide range of roles. Many effective career discussions produced multiple outcomes, and some of these were long-lasting. The most common types of outcomes experienced were a clearer view of future direction, self-insight, awareness of opportunities, and feeling reassured or better about self or work.


Rochlen, A. B., Milburn, L. and Hill, C. E. (2004). “Examining the Process and Outcome of Career Counselling for Different Types of Career Counselling Clients”. Journal of Career Development, 30(4), pp. 263–275. (Link)


Using cluster analysis, we identified two types of career counseling clients: (a) Clients with moderate levels of career-related distress, discomfort, and uncertainty and (b) clients with high levels of career concerns, personal distress, and stigma about career counseling. The more distressed group expressed lower evaluations of a career counseling session and perceived their counselors as providing fewer action-oriented counseling skills than the less distressed group. No differences emerged in terms of client's perceptions of the therapeutic relationship.


Hearne, L. (2005). Opening a door: Evaluating the benefits of guidance for the adult client: A report. Waterford: REGSA, Waterford Institute of Technology. (Link)


In March 2005 a study was completed for the Regional Educational Guidance Service for Adults in Waterford Institute of Technology. The purpose of the research has been to evaluate the benefits of guidance for the adult clients accessing the guidance service. In the context of guidance provision, the focus of the research has been on the clients’ direct experiences of receiving information, advice and guidance, and the tracking of his/her progression to determine outcomes.


Hughes, D., Bimrose, J., Barnes, S. A., Bowes, L., & Orton, M. (2005). A systematic literature review of research into career development interventions for workforce development. Centre for Guidance Studies, University of Derby. (Link)


The review identifies research evidence in a systematic and transparent way in order  to ascertain what career development interventions (CDIs) motivate employees to engage in learning for work. Other factors that influence the outcomes of workforce development are also explored. From over 77,000 articles that were initially identified, the research team distilled the available research data and completed an in-depth review of 27 research studies that the met set criteria. Research found four main categories of intervention: (i) formal training/development, within and outside the workplace; (ii) informal training/development, within and outside the workplace; (iii) human resource led initiatives; and (iv) involvement of intermediaries.  In the summary, the researchers lamented a lack of robust studies but highlighted a theme where interventions depended on context and learning factors in shaping motivations of employees.


Gysbers, N. C. (2006). Using qualitative career assessments in career counselling with adults. International Journal for Educational and Vocational Guidance, 6, 95-108. (Link)


The paper reviews and describes qualitative career assessments. Three such qualitative career interventions for adults are described LCA, Career Genogram, and Life Role Analysis. The paper does not evaluate their effect with clients, but proposes criteria for developing interventions.


Pollard, E., Tyers, C., Tuohy, S., & Cowling, M. (2007). Assessing the Net Added Value of Adult Advice and Guidance. (Link)
CThis research explores the impact of information, advice and guidance (IAG) on adults in work or education, and specifically investigates the relative impact of more in-depth careers support (advice and guidance) over that of information provision. The research design was a longitudinal survey of recipients of careers support. The first survey took place in 2004 and involved more than 4,000 individuals. The second survey, in 2006, followed-up these original participants, achieving almost 1,300 interviews. Several conclusions were found, such as that IAG is more valuable as an ongoing process than a one off. The paper includes a statistical analysis of outcomes

Bimrose, J., Barnes, S. A., & Hughes, D. (2008). Adult career progression and advancement: A five year study of the effectiveness of guidance. Coventry: Warwick Institute for Employment Research and the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills. (Link)


The main purpose of the research was to evaluate the effectiveness of guidance in England by tracking the career trajectories of research participants over a five year period to evaluate the role of guidance in the process of career development and progression. Fifty in-depth case studies were initially completed (December, 2003 to March, 2004). This fifth, and final report from the study, presents an analysis of data collected from 29 of the original 50 participants, who were tracked four years after their case-study interview for the research. Insights from the research included the complex nature of career trajectories and the creation of a four-fold typology of career decision styles (evaluative, strategic, aspirational or opportunistic approach). 98% of people found guidance useful immediately after it, which declined to 69% four years after receiving it, providing evidence for the longer term nature of impact..


Cedefop (2008), Career development at work: A review of career guidance to support people in employment (Link)P C EThis review covers the evidence base at the time for different career interventions deployed in workplaces. Topics covered including the context of the importance of career support, employer practice, the role of intermediaries, and the role of public policy.

Hearne, L. (2010). Measuring individual progression in adult guidance: An Irish case study. Waterford: Waterford Institute of Technology. (Link)


The paper describes results from a four year longitudinal study in Ireland from 2005-09, and used results from n=5 case studies. Although the sample was small, the research used depth interviews to extract detailed aspects of careers. The studies  also examined the effects of career counselling on their decisions and outcomes over the time-period.


Watts, A. G. (2010). National all-age career guidance services: evidence and issues. British Journal of Guidance & Counselling, 38(1), 31–44. (Link) (Paid)


The paper describes the results of a review of three national all-age career guidance services – in New Zealand, Scotland and Wales. Pros and cons of an all age service rather than an all age strategy (as seen in England) are described, leading to an argument for an all-age service. 




N Zealand

Bimrose, J., Brown, A., Barnes, S.-A., & Hughes, D. (2011). The role of career adaptability in skills supply. Evidence report 35 (Main Report). UK Commission for Employment and Skills (Link)


The report was an evidence review commissioned by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills is a social partnership, led by Commissioners from large and small employers, trade unions and the voluntary sector. It investigates the evidence for the value and role of ‘career adaptability’ in labour markets, and creates the connection between this capability and policy agendas which requires up/re-skilling of the working population. The study includes a comparison between the UK and Norwegian contexts to highlight opportunities.. 


Bimrose, J., & Hearne, L. (2012). Resilience and career adaptability: Qualitative studies of adult career counseling. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 81(3), 338-344. (Link


The paper reviews the key ‘capability’ or characteristics that help adults to navigate their careers, particularly during times of change. It makes the argument that career guidance can help adults with resilience and adaptability skills required during times of economic challenge: a topic that had been under-represented in the vocational psychology literature. Data from qualitative studies in England, Norway and Ireland were used to illustrate the concepts, particularly relevant to career changes. 




Bimrose, J., & Brown, A. (2014). Mid-career progression and development: The role for career guidance and counselling. Handbook of career development: International perspectives, 203-222. (Link) (Paid)


Findings are presented from a 2-year research study into forms of individual career progression, which focused on the work-related learning and career development of mid-career, mainly skilled workers in 10 European countries. With emphasis on how careers are changing, this research explored the different paths taken to develop the knowledge and skills used in employment, how and why participants gained qualifications, why they changed jobs, and why they stayed in the same career. The study involved a comprehensive literature review coupled with an online survey of 1,157 participants in the 10 countries, and some follow-up interviews.


Akkermans, J. O. S., Brenninkmeijer, V., Schaufeli, W. B., & Blonk, R. W. (2015). It's all about CareerSKILLS: Effectiveness of a career development intervention for young employees. Human Resource Management, 54(4), 533-551. (Link)


The aim of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of a career development intervention programme aimed at addressing career competencies and career self-management skills for young working adults. The survey sample was split into n=112 who received the programme and n=61 who did not who had intermediate vocational education. A further experiment examined adults who had undergone a reintegration programme, with n=71 receiving the programme and n=41 not. Results showed the programme increased a range of metrics related to motivation, self-reflection, networking, exploration and career control.


de Haan, E., Grant, A. M., Burger, Y., & Eriksson, P. O. (2016). A large-scale study of executive and workplace coaching: The relative contributions of relationship, personality match, and self-efficacy. Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research, 68(3), 189 - 207 (Link)


This large-scale study of executive coaching explores the perceived effectiveness of coaching from the perspectives of coach, coachee, and sponsor, including the collection of results from 1,895 client-coach pairs. Results indicate that coachee perceptions of coaching effectiveness (CE) were significantly related to both coach- and coachee-rated strength of the working alliance, showing the importance of relationships between professionals and their clients. Coachee self-efficacy also affected the perceived value, suggesting that this is a factor that may be a prerequisite of success. However, it was unrelated to coachee or coach personality and to personality matching. The paper also reviews other sources that show success factors in therapeutic relationships between helpers and their clients.


Liske, J.M.R., & Holladay, C.L. (2016). Evaluating coaching’s effect: competencies, career mobility and retention. Leadership & Organization Development Journal, 37, 936-948. (Link) (Paid)


Purpose leadership coaching is described – which is a method of leadership coaching. The paper describes an evaluation of the practice in a healthcare organisation. Those who participated demonstrated higher competencies and were more likely to stay at the company one year later. The paper therefore provides a case for workplace coaching to employers.


Archer, S. & Yates, J. (2017) Understanding potential career changers’ experience of career confidence following a positive psychology based coaching programme, Coaching: An International Journal of Theory, Research and Practice, 10:2, 157-175. (Link)


This research involved five female participants who were contemplating a career change. They took part in a coaching programme. Post career engagement, improvements were obtained in terms of self-awareness and a positive and optimistic outlook, with the clients having been pessimistic at the outset.


Maree, K. (2017). The psychology of career adaptability, career resilience, and employability: A broad overview. Psychology of career adaptability, employability and resilience, 3-11. (Link)(Paid)
UThis book chapter first discusses the influence of a changing world on people’s career adaptability, employability, and career resilience. it elaborates on the responses of professionals working in career counselling to what is happening in society and, more particularly, the workplace. It shows that their individual and collective responses are practical as well as theoretical. The idea is explored of careers practitioners helping clients to “survive” in turbulent times. The paper also discusses the role of practitioners helping clients to develop the attributes to prosper

Dubbelt, L., Demerouti, E., & Rispens, S. (2019). The value of job crafting for work engagement, task performance, and career satisfaction: longitudinal and quasi-experimental evidence. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 28(3), 300-314. (Link)


The authors identify the practice of “job crafting” for study, as a means by which employees increase their fit to a particular role by “seeking resources, seeking challenges, and decreasing demands”. In this longitudinal study from a Holland higher education establishment, a job crafting intervention was tested with n=60 participants and their outcomes compared with a control group (n=59). The intervention was a training intervention aimed at teaching job crafting skills, which were then embedded using Kolb’s learning cycle. The intervention was successful, as participants in the intervention group increased seeking resources and decreasing demands behaviors.


Cedefop (2020). Inventory of lifelong guidance systems and practices - UK / England. CareersNet (Link)


This is the UK edition of a series of reports that examine lifelong learning practices in England. The article provides an overview of the policies that led up to the national strategies. There are several sections to the report including a specific coverage of guidance practices for adult learners


Caputo, A., Fregonese, C., & Langher, V. (2020). The effectiveness of psychodynamic career counselling: a randomised control trial on the PICS programme. Psychodynamic Practice, 26(2), 136-165. (Link) (Paid)


The work aims at extending the research into the effectiveness of psychodynamic career counselling for improving career adjustment. The short- and medium-term effects of the PICS (Psychodynamic Intervention for Career Strategies) programme were tested through an RCT conducted on a sample of 82 psychology professionals entering the labour market. Overall, the results of the present study suggest a medium-sized effect on the curiosity dimension of career adaptability at 6-month follow-up


Terblanche, N. (2021). Coaching techniques for sustained individual change during career transitions. Human Resource Development Quarterly, 32(1), 11-33.



Transition coaching techniques are particularly applied to career change challenges. In this source, the author describes 13 such techniques and the perceptions of 20 coaches. Five approaches were found to be used more than the others:: active experimentation, questioning, reflection, challenging views and assumptions, and using theories and frameworks


National Career Development Association (2021). Perceptions from Working America (Link)


This US study examines the attitudes and experiences of careers support gained by the working population. The results show very high regard for careers guidance and support services, though most received help via work programmes. Most also knew people that they felt could benefit from career guidance. Satisfaction levels with services were very high, while about 1 in 2 expressed the sentiment that they wished they’d had more or different careers information in the past, while c1 in 4 intended to use a professional in future. 


Neary, S., Hooley, T., Morris, M., Mackay, S., Blake, H. and Agur, M. (2021). The Impact of Career Guidance on Progression in Learning and Work: A Literature Review . Derby University of Derby. (Link)

P C E 

This paper makes the case that career progression is a legitimate end for career guidance. Building on a previous 2014/15 literature review of n=49 papers, it provides a review of evidence from n=42 more sources, which demonstrate that career guidance can have a positive influence on adults’ progression to learning and work. A three stage model is used to organise the evidence, covering 1) "fostering positive attitudes and behaviours", 2) supporting transitions and 3) ongoing support. The consensus of the literature is that career guidance needs to be delivered in a timely way and by a qualified professional to be impactful. This paper also reviewed studies that showed contributing success factors for transitions, such as the attitudes of the career client.


OECD (2021), Career Guidance for Adults in a Changing World of Work. (Link)


The report is a major survey into 25-64 year old adult perceptions- and experiences of career guidance in six OECD countries, contextualised by COVID and digital technology on the world of work. Results indicate high satisfaction levels for guidance, and strong outcomes, with 70% reporting education or employment progression within six months of interventions. However, many fewer adults (22%) attributed success to their guidance. Other insights include the different models of services in different countries, and the differences in disadvantaged groups.







Akkermans, J., da Motta Veiga, S. P., Hirschi, A., & Marciniak, J. (2023). Career transitions across the lifespan: A review and research agenda. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 103957. (Link)
U CThis paper presents a literature review of some 93 studies that have previously examined career transitions across the lifespan, providing a useful contribution to the level of knowledge and understanding of career paths. The authors note the general fragmentation of the field and critically review the research gaps, creating a research agenda and framework for future research.

Barnes, S.A. (2023). Evidence on adult career guidance and its role in skills development. Report for ReWAGE. (Link)


This paper reviews existing international evidence on career guidance to examine the role it  plays in skills development, and considers the potential for an extended role in skills development. Considerations are highlighted for the English skills system. 


Brazier, C. É., Masdonati, J., Borges, A., Fedrigo, L., & Cerantola, M. (2024). Drivers of Involuntary Career Changes: A Qualitative Study of Push, Pull, Anti-Push, and Anti-Pull Factors. Journal of Career Development, 51(3), 303-326. (Link)

UThis paper explores the dynamics of transitions once adults face involuntary career change situations. “This study focused on how people articulate push, pull, anti-push, and anti-pull factors when facing an involuntarily triggered career change. {IT involved} 19 semi structured interviews with people forced to change careers due to health issues, migration, or unemployment in Switzerland. Through qualitative analysis, career changes were found driven (i.e., facilitated or inhibited) by participants’ interests, values, or skills. This resulted in five types of processes of career change, depending on whether participants were aiming to maintain their values, update their values, transpose their interests, resuscitate forgone interests, or valorize their skills despite the involuntary nature of the change they were undergoing.” The paper has implications for helping adults clients through processes of change

3. Case studies

Some case studies, and collections of case studies, that show outcomes from different practices, are listed below. (We denote cases where the study represents the explicit application of a theory to the design or interpretation of a practice).



Brief description


Euroguidance (n.d.), Good practices (Link)


This source showcases a collection of ‘Good Guidance Practices’ across the EU, providing ideas and evidence to the international guidance community. The articles and reports cover all career stages and also different groups.


Kidd, J., C. Jackson and W. Hirsh (2003), “The outcomes of effective career discussion at work”, Journal of Vocational Behavior, Vol. 62/1, pp. 119-133,  (Link)

Stimulating career conversations in workplaces

Rather than showing a direct impact of guidance, this paper explains benefits of interventions in workplaces that stimulate career conversations. It show outcomes that resulted from career discussions experienced by 104 employees. Many effective career discussions produced multiple outcomes, and some of these were long-lasting. The most common were a clearer view of future direction, self-insight, awareness of opportunities, and feeling reassured or better about self or work.


Hearne, L. (2005). Opening a door: Evaluating the benefits of guidance for the adult client: A report. Waterford: REGSA, Waterford Institute of Technology. (Link)

Developing an adult guidance service

In March 2005 a study was completed for the Regional Educational Guidance Service for Adults in Waterford Institute of Technology. The purpose of the research has been to evaluate the benefits of guidance for the adult clients accessing the guidance service. Findings from the research show that clients have benefited enormously from guidance, not only in terms of education and training experiences, but also career progression and personal fulfilment.


Plimmer, G. (2012). Adult career counseling using possible selves—A quasi-experimental field study in naturalistic settings. Journal of Career Assessment, 20(1), 53-70. (Link)

Using a “Possible selves” approach

Complex choices

Blended approaches to guidance

This study was contextualised by the diversity and complexity of career choices, and discomfort many have with then, and limited resources available. The study tested a “possible selves” proces, delivered via a blend of computer and one-on-one counseling. Compared with a control group benefits were seen in raising participants’ level of comfort with career direction, particularly for those with very low scores, and increasing confidence in their career direction. Interviews with practitioners found the computerized possible selves-based approach to be effective in engaging clients where career and personal issues were intertwined.

New Zealand

Carter, A. and Sinclair, A. (2013), Impact of coaching: An empirical longitudinal study into coachee well-being, engagement and job satisfaction following a coaching programme at work, by Hicks B, Carter A, Sinclair A. (Link)

Internal coaching in organisations to improve wellbeing and job satisfaction

The research is an exploratory study into whether employees receiving coaching at work experience any impact on their perceptions of well-being, job satisfaction and engagement  at work. Coaching is primarily delivered by internal volunteer coaches to a range of managers and non-managers. The researchers followed 100 coachees from eight employers for a year, and completed three points of time. The researchers “found evidence of statistically significant increases in perceptions of well‐being among employees soon after a period of coaching….. respondents felt that coaching had impacted positively on both the way in which they worked and their feelings towards work.”


Milot-Lapointe, F., Savard, R., & Le Corff, Y. (2016). Effect of Career Counselling on Mental Health: Using A Clinical Change Method/Effet du counseling de carriere sur la sante mentale: utilisation d'une methode du changement clinique. Canadian Journal of Counselling and Psychotherapy, 50(3), 278-290. (Link)

Career counselling with clients experiencing mental health challenges

This study investigated the effect of a career counselling process on the mental health of clients. n=13 adult clients wre enrolled in the careers sessions and  an Outcome Questionnaire was used to measure results, mirroring the practices of a clinical intervention. The results showed net positive results for the sample of clients: Of the 13 clients who participated in career counselling sessions, 8 were found to have experienced a "recovery" (30.8 %) or "improvement" (30.8 %) in mental health, while no change was experienced by the other 5 (38.5 %).


Fassiotto, M., Simard, C., Sandborg, C., Valantine, H., & Raymond, J. (2018). An Integrated Career Coaching and Time-Banking System Promoting Flexibility, Wellness, and Success: A Pilot Program at Stanford University School of Medicine. Academic Medicine (Ovid), 93(6), 881–887. (Link)

A workplace programme to resolve work, career, productivity and wellbeing challenges

The paper is contextualised by a high pressure setting (the faculty), leading to staff stress and dissatisfaction, compromising success. A taskforce convened to diagnose challenges at the Stanford University School of Medicine  and created a workforce pilot programme. The programme incorporated two elements to mitigate work-life and work-work conflict: integrated career-life planning, coaching to create a customised plan to meet both career and life goals; and a time-banking system, recognizing behaviours that promote team success with benefits that mitigate work-life and work-work conflicts. The results showed successful improvement of multiple outcome variables.


Law, L. (2018), Design and evaluation of a short course to address the career related issues of adults from mid-life onwards, NICEC (Oct 2018) (Link)

Career course design

Resolution of uncertainty in mid/later careers

This study examines a range of development and narrative career theories that illuminate the career related preoccupations, concerns and issues of adults from mid-life onwards. Using themes identified in the literature, an innovative short course design, is developed and tested which is shown to help clients address their unique career conundrums.


Franklin, M., & Stebleton, M. J. (2020). Another story to tell: Outcomes of a single session narrative approach, blended with technology. Canadian Journal of Career Development, 19(1), 39-45. (Link)

Increasing client engagement and retention in career counselling

Application of narrative techniques

Career  development professionals frequently struggle to engage clients in an initial  session and may lose opportunities to  help clients more by continuing on to  further sessions. The purpose of this  study is to illustrate the effectiveness  of a narrative framework blended with  technology, within a single career  session with a client. This study found  statistically significant increases in all  study variables including optimism,  clarity, confidence, organized thinking, and internal and external search instrumentality from the beginning to the end of a single session. These  results, coupled with monthly client  return rates of up to 85%, suggest that  career professionals seeking to engage  clients in an initial session and have  them return for future sessions – to  tell another story – should consider  utilizing some of the strategies and  interventions included in this study’s  narrative framework


Maree, J. G., & Nortjé, M. (2022). Enhancing the sense of self of a mid-career woman through career construction counselling. International Journal for Educational and Vocational Guidance, 1-27. (Link)

Career construction counselling 

Counselling with women

This article reports on the details and rationale for a career construction counselling with a mid-career, midlife woman. After the intervention, the participant exhibited an enhanced sense of self-awareness. Career construction counselling was concluded as being useful for helping the client to become more aware of the meaning she assigned to life and her view of herself, as a pre-requisite to career decisions.

South Africa

Carmichael, H. et al (2023), Making a smooth career landing. Learning & Work Institute (Link)

Develop a programme to support career change to meet local economic labour needs

Employer collaboration

This programme was established following the impact of COVID on jobs. “Person-centred, informal coaching, engaging business in programme design and focussing on local workforce priorities” were cited as success factors in a series of “New Futures” pilots, run by the Learning and Work INstitute. At the time of writing, 100 people across the UK had switched career.


4. Future research questions

The CDI discusses research questions and gaps with expert academics. Amongst the common topics that we heard suggested for future research studies , we have heard there are knowledge gaps with the following:

  • The opportunities for career guidance through the adult life-span

  • Career progression paths within organisations.

  • Careers support given within organisations, and the results.

  • The scale of the career coaching market, and outcomes from private coaching.

  • The costs and benefits of a mid/later career review.

  • Outcomes from career changing in mid/later careers.

5. Relevant institutions

To understand more about this area, it is worth reviewing the work of the following organisations who are active in commissioning or producing research.

These are organisations who regularly conduct or commission research related to career and/or CEIAG for this group.

Where content is restricted to memberships or requires payment, this is noted next to the name of the organisation in the first column.



Careers Wales (Link)

Careers Wales is a public (government funded service) that provides careers information, advice and guidance service for Wales. Careers Wales works with the Welsh Government. Career Wales has a repository for various studies and articles.

Cedefop (Link)

Cedefop is a decentralised agency of the European Union that supports the development of European vocational education and training (VET) policies and contributes to their implementation. As such it publishes a large number of papers and reports – both pan European and into member countries – across most aspects of CEIAG, but particularly covering policy and system level issues. It has a particularly high volume of reports covering labour market needs, skills shortages and career development across the lifespan, with a number of country reports.

Chartered Institute of Management (CIM)  (Link)
While the Chartered Institute of Management (CIM) support the vocation of “management”, their reports and articles straddle a wide range of contemporary topics that discuss trends within organisations, such as skills and career management. 

Chartered Institute of Professional Development (Link)

The CIPD are the professional body for HR and people development. They produce a continual stream of reports covering the labour market and regulatory regime and its influences over the world of work, as well as about qualification schemes, organisational practices to support staff, and equality. Each year, they produce a Good Work Index which is effectively a national job satisfaction survey, which covers aspects of interest to careers, such as feelings of engagement and fulfilment at work.

Confederation of Business Industry (Link)

The CBI is a membership organisation that “speaks on behalf of 170,000 businesses of all sizes and sectors, across every region and nation of the UK. This includes over 1,100 corporate members, plus nearly 150 trade associations.” It runs a series of campaigns to lobby government in the interests of its members. It conducts limited research, but collects ongoing data via economic surveys.

Department of Education (Link)

The Department of Education, along with the Department of Work and Pensions, are the two Government areas where agendas cross into topics relating to Careers. The Department of Education website provides a section on “Research and Statistics”, and “Policy papers and consultations” guidance and regulation to inform on the national education landscape and challenges. 

Department of Work and Pensions (Link)

The Department uses research to “understand, develop, implement, monitor and evaluate our policies and services.”. While there is a wide span of topics covered, some of the publications may be of interest to careers professionals, such as historic employer surveys.

Euroguidance Network (Link)

The Euroguidance Network is a network of national resource and information centres for guidance. It is a co-operation of centres throughout European countries which link together the Careers Guidance systems in Europe. Their three main pillars of work including support the development of Europe’s lifelong guidance, to support development of practitioners and provide information on European guidance. They publish a range of outputs including a magazine (“Insight”), highlights of the network’s work, results of seminars, and a variety of guides and books.

Institute for Fiscal Studies (Link)

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) considers itself as “the UK’s leading independent economics research institute”. It conducts studies to analyse and inform economic and social policy decisions and to help policymakers – and those who hold them accountable – to understand impacts on individuals, households and businesses..It has a library of several thousands papers and articles, with a segment covering unemployment and associated policies.

International Association for Educational and Vocational Guidance (IAEVG) (Link)

The International Association for Educational and Vocational Guidance provides global leadership in and advocates for guidance by promoting ethical, socially just, and best practices throughout the world. It disseminates results via the International Journal for Educational and Vocational Guidance.

International Centre for Guidance Studies (iCeGS) (Link)

iCeGS have conducted a high volume of critical national and international studies, specifically into the areas of careers: education, development, and policy etc, for both academic journals, policymaking bodies and careers service providers. Consequently, their research library contains relevant papers and reports to this area, as well as many related topics.

Learning and Work Institute (LWI) (Link)

The LWI are an independent policy, research and development organisation dedicated to lifelong learning, full employment and inclusion. They conduct evaluation research to influence policy, and develop new ways of thinking, and help to implement new approaches.

National Careers Development Association (US) (Link)

The NCDA is the United States membership body for careers professionals. As well as publishing periodic larger scale research, practitioners actively contribute short practice articles by way of small-scale evaluation, reflection or learnings. All career stages are covered, including Elementary education, equivalent to Primary in the UK. The NCDA disseminate results in their Career Convergence (shorter form) and Career Development magazine (articles), publish the Career Development Quarterly journal (academic focussed).

OECD (Link)

The OECD publishes a wide range of articles, reports and data-sets that offer context to adult careers, particularly in the “Economy”, “Education”, “Employment”, “Skills”, and “Social and Welfare Issues” parts of their website. In 2021, they produced a survey report on Adult Career Guidance from six countries, describing the different national systems, usage rates, citizen attitudes and experiences..

Sector skills councils / UK Commission for Employment and Skills (Link)
SSCs are independent, employer-led, UK–wide organisations that are licensed by the government through the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES). There are currently 18 Sector Skills Councils and 5 sector skills bodies who work with over 550,000 employers to define skills needs and skills standards in their industry. Individual councils will often carry out research and analysis on their skill requirements, economic health and/or the implications of trends on their workforce.

Skills Development Scotland (link)

The national body supporting the people and businesses of Scotland to develop and apply their skills. Skills Development Scotland manage Scotland’s career services. The body produces a programme of publications and research into different aspects of the wider employment sector.

Trade Union Congress / Unionlearn (Link)
Unionlearn is the learning and skills organisation of the TUC, assisting unions in the delivery of learning opportunities for their members. Union Learn also provide a number of career support resources and services, and collaborates with The Skills Network. The website contains a number of case studies and resources for their work.

UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (Link)

The UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL) helps Member States to build effective and inclusive lifelong learning policies and systems that work across the lifespan, and support inclusion. The programme produces periodic international studies and discusses the principles and themes of effective lifelong learning.

World Employment Confederation (Link)
The World Employment Confederation is “the voice of the private employment services industry at the global level, representing national federations as well as workforce solutions companies from across the world.” It produces a range of surveys and research reports, including studies into workforce sentiments, labour market trends, trends in employment services. and organisational (HR-related) challenges, as well its own impact reports.

6. Journals/publications

To explore this topic further, we have noted careers research in the following publications: Most journals are multi-sector in that they are not specifically focussed on the client group in this article, but do publish relevant articles about careers, guidance and policy. There are also often papers about labour market factors in journals that cover specific industrial verticals in the economy, like Healthcare, Education or Engineering.



Academy of Management (Several journals) (Link)

The Academy of Management publish ten journal titles surrounding different facets of management. Papers tend to cover the theories and understanding of management and inter-relationship with policies and practices within organisations. Although usually only covering career guidance topics indirectly, papers can provide context into adult career development through topics such as progression, career identity, HR policies, equality issues, and workplace culture. 

Asia-Pacific Career Development Journal (Link)

This journal is part of the work for the Asia Pacific Career Development Association. The journal itself is is an international biannual scholarly journal dedicated to all career development and intervention related topics, such as career counselling, individual and organisational career development, work and leisure, career education, career coaching, and career management.

Australian Journal of Career Development (Link)

The journal focuses on current theory, practice and policy relating to the career development and work education field. The target audience includes professionals in educational and academic settings, community and government agencies, business and industrial settings

British Journal of Guidance and Counselling (Link)

The aim of the British Journal of Guidance & Counselling is to publish work that sets trends and provokes fresh thought and innovation in the practice and understanding of counselling, psychotherapy and career guidance. The journal seeks to communicate, enrich and advance theory, research, policy and practice in these fields. 

British Journal of Industrial Relations (Link)

A multidisciplinary, international journal of work, labour, and employment relations. It focuses on the institutions, policies, and practices associated with these relations and their implications for matters of economy and society.

Canadian Journal of Career Development (Link)

The journal covers career-related academic research and best practices from Canada and around the world. Studies often review relationships between individual characteristics and their outcomes, and also review or develop different counselling, guidance or coaching techniques.

Career Development International (Link)

Formerly the International Journal of Career Management, the journal covers career development topics, such as the inter-relationship between individual attributes, behaviours and outcomes. A considerable fraction of the papers covers the people within work/organisational settings.

Career Developments Magazine (NCDA) (Link)

The Career Developments magazine is a publication from the US National Careers Development Association. The articles include a strong coverage of practical interventions, with each issue usually focussing on a particular career theme. Articles are US-centric but many articles have transferable learnings.

Career Planning and Adult Development Journal (Link)

This was a US journal that appeared to stop publishing after 2018 (Confirmation of the current status is unknown). However, there is a backlog of papers to 1983, with many being international in orientation. It was an annual publication of the Career Planning and Adult Development Network.

Careerwise (Ceric) (Link)

Career Wise is a Canadian careers news website, which is a programme of Ceric, a charitable organisation that furthers career education in Canada. News and articles are centred on Canada, but frequently contain relevant topics. Articles often cover practical tips, ideas or practices. 

Journal of Adult and Continuing Education (Link)

The journal covers the broad area of adult career and skill development, and related international and national issues. It is aimed at researchers, professionals and practitioners in sectors of the economy.

Journal of Career Development (Link)

The journal provides the latest in career development theory, research and practice, focusing on the impact that theory and research have on practice.Covers the application of career theories, career development, career and leisure, career and family, workplace issues, careers in schools, and innovative techniques.

Journal of the National Institute for Career Education and Counselling (Link)

Publishes papers from both academics and practitioners on all aspects of career development, covering career guidance, career education, theory, research, policy, practice; covers the diverse needs of different groups and adopts a multi-disciplinary  perspective.

Journal of Vocational Behaviour (Link)

The Journal of Vocational Behavior publishes original empirical and theoretical articles that contribute novel insights to the fields of career choice, career development, and work adjustment across the lifespan and which are also valuable for applications in counselling and career development programs in businesses and public sector organisations.

International Journal for Educational and Vocational Guidance (Link)

Publishes articles related to work, leisure, career development, counselling, guidance, and education. Offers coverage with an international perspective, including comparative studies and multi or cross-cultural insights .

The Career Development Quarterly (Link)

The journal mainly covers “career development through the design and use of career interventions, …Articles cover career counselling and development, work, leisure, career education, and coaching and management. The official journal of the National Career Development Association (NCDA), a division of the American Counseling Association.”

Work, Employment and Society (Link)
This is the journal of the British Sociological Association which publishes original research on the sociology of work. It covers a wide range of topics about work, employment and unemployment, and their connections with wider social processes. Many papers address different careers and career contexts, viewed through a social lens.

7. Data sources

Some contextual data sources are provided below. These are particularly useful for studying the prevalence of different situations, trends over time or comparing situations with different geographies or groups.



CIPD Good Work Index (Link)

The 2023 edition being the sixth annual publication  of the CIPD’s Working Lives survey, that collects data about adult employee work-based attitudes, experiences, motivations and behaviours. (While the questions are often about current jobs, they also offer various insights into ‘career’ orientated topics included too, such as about aspirations and motivations.)

CIPD Working Lives Survey (Link)

Having been launched in 2018, the annual data measures various variables from a nation survey related to the quality of work.

City and Guilds, Training Trends (Link)
The City and Guilds publish an annual survey of the nation’s businesses to understand the trends relating to training activities, including barriers and sentiments to future intent. Metrics gathered include the prioritisation of training as a driver for business growth, anticipated changes in training expenditure and perceptions of business preparedness for economic and technological trends.

Gallup - State of the Global Workforce (Link)

The annual survey measures the “voice of the global employee” and covers employee engagement, attitudes with work, mental health, the extent of job-seeking behaviour, and questions about work values in different groups and locations.

ILO Stat (Link)

International labour market statistics for most countries, which also provides country profiles.

Learning and Work Institute Adult Participation in Learning survey (Link)
An annual survey by the LWI investigates the extent and nature of learning activities undertaken by the adult UK  population. (The LWI summarise a range of other largely-public data too, including latest economic stats and job vacancies)

OECD Data Explorer (Link)

The OECD measure a wide range of economic and social indicators including education and employment values. 

Office of National Statistics - Business Insights and Impacts on the UK Economy (Link)
The ONS produce an approximately monthly update on a large dataset that captured very many metrics about UK business activities. Different questions are asked per wave. Some relevant indicators are included that offer insight into business confidence, performance, staffing and worker shortages.

Office of National Statistics - UK Labour market data (Link)

Provides monthly estimates of employment, unemployment, economic inactivity and other employment-related statistics for the UK.

PWC - Global workforce hopes and fears survey (Link)

The survey measures the attitudes and decisions of 54k  international employees in 46 countries, covering topics like motivations, intent, attitudes towards technology impact and future outlook. Differences are reported by workforce generation and location.

Randstad annual Workmonitor report - UK edition (Link)

In the UK, the Randstad workmonitor survey was conducted among 1,500 employed individuals across all industries. This has run since 2018. The UK survey was part of a wider global survey of 27,000 employees. The 2024 report provided a deep dive into ambition and motivation, equity and understanding, flexibility, AI and skills.

WEF (2023) - The Future of Jobs report (Link)

This global report provides the prognosis for skills demand across the global economy in the years 2023-28, in light of social and economic trends and new technology.