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International Career Development Trends

Trends and Issues Alert 37

by Sandra Kerka

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This project has been funded at least in part with Federal funds from the U.S. Department of Education under Contract No. ED-99-CO-0013. The content of this publication does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the U.S. Department of Education nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government. ERIC/ACVE publications may be freely reproduced.


Career development has taken on global significance as individuals prepare for work that increasingly crosses borders. Internationally, individuals and the career practitioners helping them are grappling with such issues as development of cultural competencies for cross-cultural work (Arthur 2000). The issues vary in different sociopolitical contexts (Santos et al. 2001). As Eastern Europe and China, for example, move to more Western-style economies, new ways of school-to-work transition are being sought (European Training Foundation 2000; Hu 1997; Mansuy et al. 2001). Cross-cultural applicability of career development theories, models, and instruments is a focus of research (Lee 2001; Leong and Serafica 2001; Lerman 2001; "Special Issue" 1998; Tracey et al. 1997). Women's successful career development also varies across nations (Charles et al. 2001; Linehan and Walsh 2001; Mavin 2000; Zabludovsky 2001), although the impact of family on women's careers remains a universal theme.

International collaborations have resulted in a career development facilitators' curriculum (Carlson et al. 2000), transnational career theory (Sampson et al. 2000), and a website for the professional development of career development specialists (Turcotte and Hiebert 1999). Across nations, common concerns include the ethical, equity, and quality issues of career development on the Internet; the need for current, accessible labor market information; and stronger links between education and employment and between the career development field and policymakers (Hiebert and Bezanson 2000; Lerman 2001).


Arthur, N. "Career Competencies for Managing Cross-Cultural Transitions." Canadian Journal of Counselling 34, no. 3 (June-July 2000): 204-217.

Key demographic and market trends have influenced the cross-cultural nature of work, requiring a repertoire of cultural competencies for managing career development.

Carlson, B. L.; Goguen, R. A.; Jarvis, P. S.; and Lester, J. N. "The North American Career Development Partnership: Experiment in International Collaboration." Journal of Employment Counseling 37, no. 2 (June 2000): 76-87.

Describes how career development programs became the focus of an international partnership between the United States and Canada. Traces the history of each country's efforts, beginning in the 1970s, which led to this significant international collaboration.

Charles, M. et al. "The Context of Women's Market Careers: A Cross-National Study." Work and Occupations 28, no. 3 (August 2001): 371-396.

Labor force participation of Swiss women was more strongly influenced by family configuration. The association between educational credentials and occupational sex typing was more persistent in Switzerland. Results show how cultural, institutional, and governmental factors constrain women's career choices.

Couppie, T., and Mansuy, M. The Situation of Young Labour-Market Entrants in Europe. Marseilles, France: Centre d'Etudes et de Recherches sur les Qualifications, 2000. (ED 448 357)

The different situations confronting young labor market entrants in Denmark, Italy, France, and the United Kingdom are described in terms of qualifications, experience, access to jobs, and occupational mobility.

European Training Foundation. Career Guidance and Counselling: Theory and Practice for the 21st Century. Conference Report, Budapest, Hungary, March 29-31, 2000. Turin, Italy: ETF, 2000. (ED 459 327)

In Central and Eastern Europe, shifts from the old paternalistic economy to a market economy have been abrupt and devastating, and career guidance must be made available to help people learn to plan and guide their own careers and lives.

Hiebert, B., and Bezanson, L., eds. Making Waves: Career Development and Public Policy. International Symposium 1999 Papers, Proceedings, and Strategies. Ottawa, Ontario: Canadian Career Development Foundation, 2000. (ED 444 050)

Contains papers addressing preparation for the world of work, the impact of information and communication technologies, and connections between career development and public policy. Includes papers from Argentina, Australia, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain, and the United Kingdom.

Hu, X. ed. "Special Issue: Career Counseling around the Pacific Rim." Career Planning and Adult Development Journal 13, no. 2 (Summer 1997).

Includes articles on Japan, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Australia, and a cross-cultural study of Canada, New Zealand, Singapore, and the United States.

"Human Resource Development in the United Kingdom." In Academy of Human Resource Development (AHRD) Conference Proceedings, Oak Brook, Illinois, March 4-8, 1998, edited by R. J. Torraco. Austin, TX: AHRD, 1998. (ED 431 955)

Includes "Comparing International HRD Practices and Experiences with Cross-Cultural Theories and Research" and "Information and Feedback Seeking in U.S. and British Human Resources Development and Training Settings."

Jarlett, F., ed. "Special Issue: Career Development in the New Global Workplace." Career Planning and Adult Development Journal 14, no. 4 (Winter 1998-1999): 5-91.

Discusses how "new work" accommodates global trends; suggests that workplaces choose to succeed or fail in the new environment.

Lee, K.-H. "A Cross-Cultural Study of the Career Maturity of Korean and United States High School Students." Journal of Career Development 28, no. 1 (Fall 2001): 43-57.

Constructs of career maturity were similar across both cultures. Level of maturity was culture related: U.S. students had greater confidence; Koreans were more prepared.

Leong, F. T. L., and Serafica, F. C. "Cross-cultural Perspective on Super's Career Development Theory." In Contemporary Models in Vocational Psychology, edited by F. T. L. Leong and A. Barak, pp. 167-205. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers, 2001.

A review of cross-cultural career development research since the 1960s resulted in an integrative cross-cultural model of counseling and psychotherapy that supports both the cross-cultural validity of Super's model and Leong's emphasis on cultural accommodation.

Lerman, R. I. Improving Career Outcomes for Youth: Lessons from the U.S. and OECD Experience. Research and Evaluation Monograph Series. Washington, DC: Urban Institute, 2001. (ED 457 354)

A strong consensus that close institutional links between industries and schools are critical to improving career outcomes appeared to be emerging in most OECD countries. Most countries were moving to strengthen work-based education.

Linehan, M., and Walsh, J. S. "Key Issues in the Senior Female International Career Move: A Qualitative Study in a European Context." British Journal of Management 12, no. 1 (March 2001): 85-95.

International career moves of female expatriate managers had largely been developed along a linear male model of career progression, which, taken together with gender disparity both in organizations and family responsibilities, frequently prevented women from reaching senior managerial positions.

Mansuy, M. et al. The Transition from Education to Working Life: Key Data on Vocational Training in the European Union. Thessaloniki, Greece: European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training, 2001. (ED 456 225)

Describes aspects of the school-to-work transition throughout the EU, including the school-to-work transition in Central and East European countries, the integration of young people into working life, and European Community policies.

Mavin, S. "Approaches to Careers in Management: Why UK Organisations Should Consider Gender." Career Development International 5, no. 1 (2000): 13-20.

Women's career development proceeds differently from that of men and few career models incorporate women's varying life experiences. As long as women step off the career track to meet family responsibilities, they will be at a competitive disadvantage in career advancement.

Neumann, H.; McCormick, R. M.; Amundson, N. E.; and McLean, H. B. "Career Counselling First Nations Youth: Applying the First Nations Career-Life Planning Model." Canadian Journal of Counselling 34, no. 3 (June-July 2000): 172-185.

Field tests of the First Nations Career-Life Planning Model determined its viability, practicality, and cultural appropriateness. First Nations youth, family, and community members provided feedback on the model.

Nummenmaa, A. R., and Sinisalo, P. "Career Counseling and Counselor Training in Finland." Journal of Employment Counseling 34, no. 4 (December 1997): 157-164.

Discusses the history and current status of career counseling and counselor training in Finland including career counselor training, changes in the system, and changes in theory and practice.

Sampson, J. P., Jr.; Watts, A. G.; Palmer, M.; and Hughes, D. "International Collaboration in Translating Career Theory to Practice." Journal of Employment Counseling 37, no. 2 (June 2000): 98-106.

Describes an effort to apply a theoretical perspective developed in one country (United States) to cope with the increasing demand for career services and limited funding in another country (United Kingdom). Discusses implications for transnational adaptations of career theory across countries.

Santos, E. J. R.; Ferreira, J. A.; and Chaves, A. "Implications of Sociopolitical Context for Career Services Delivery." Career Development Quarterly 50, no. 1 (September 2001): 45-55.

Analyzes the implications of sociopolitical context for career services delivery. Proposes a research agenda founded in political anthropology that may enhance future career services delivery.

"Second International Symposium on Career Development and Public Policy," Vancouver, Canada, March 2001. Ottawa: Human Resource Development Canada, 2001.

Includes country papers from Australia, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, and United States; and synthesis papers on policy models, quality outcomes, costs/benefits, role, and training of career development professionals.

"Special Issue on International Perspectives in Vocational Psychology." Journal of Vocational Behavior 52, no. 3 (June 1998).

Articles describe career development practices in South Africa, Japan, Portugal, Singapore, Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, and India.

Stern, D., and Wagner, D. A., eds. International Perspectives on the School-to-Work Transition. Creskill, NJ: Hampton Press, 1999.

Provides a policy update on the school-to-work transition in a wide range of countries. Fourteen chapters give a comprehensive overview of the main issues in policy formulation and a consideration of how policies have been considered and implemented in those countries.

Tracey, T. J. G.; Watanabe, N.; and Schneider, P. L. "Structural Invariance of Vocational Interests across Japanese and American Cultures." Journal of Counseling Psychology 44, no. 4 (October 1997): 346-354.

Examines one aspect of the construct validity of vocational interest across Japanese and American cultures. Findings support the general structural similarity of interests in Japanese and American cultures.

Turcotte, M., and Hiebert, B. "The Counsellor Resource Centre: An On-Line Resource for Career Development Specialists in Canada." Journal of Employment Counseling 36, no. 4 (December 1999): 146-155.

A Canadian website for career counselors is organized around four areas: helping oneself, helping clients, helping each other, and helping for the future It was developed through a partnership between the International Association for Educational and Vocational Guidance and Human Resources Development Canada (

Walz, G. R.; Knowdell, R.; and Kirkman, C., eds. Staying Innovative and Change-Focused in the New Economy. Greensboro, NC: ERIC Clearinghouse on Counseling and Student Services, 2001. (ED 458 482)

Includes 21 papers describing current research, proposals, and projects of interest to the international career development community.

Weiyuan, Z. "The Historical Evolution of Career Development in China and Hong Kong." In Caring in an Age of Technology. Proceedings of the International Conference on Counseling in the 21st Century, Beijing, China, May 29-30, 1997. (ED 439 333)

Discusses six stages in the evolution of career guidance in China from 1917 to the present and in Hong Kong from 1958 to the present.

Zabludovsky, G. "Women Managers and Diversity Programs in Mexico." Journal of Management Development 20, no. 4 (2001): 354-370.

Until recently, very few Mexican private companies had specific policies to support and advance women executives. A few companies are beginning to recognize their responsibility and develop diversity programs focused on increasing the numbers of women in management.


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