Posts Tagged professions

Are you a career pioneer?

One of the questions I am frequently asked by other career professionals whom I train and mentor is ‘Can you recommend a good book on career theory?’ Up until a few years ago my answer would have been Career Theory and Practice: Learning Through Case Studies by Jane Swanson and Nadya Fouad, two professors of psychology from the States. I liked it because it was aimed at guidance practitioners. Each of the theories covered was applied to a client case study.

Understanding careers - book cover

I'm not jealous!

I still think it is a very good book, but a few years ago it was supplanted at the top of my list of recommendations by Understanding Careers: The metaphors of working lives from New Zealand professor of management, Kerr Inkson. I have a love-hate relationship with this book. How can you not love a book on career theory which starts a chapter on the narrative approach to careers with a quote from the 80s hit Don’t you want me, baby by the Human League. It is very comprehensive, thought-provoking, practical and exceptionally readable for a book on career theory. I hate it because… I wish I had written it!

However, this book was not the first time I had come across Kerr Inkson. Read the rest of this entry »

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A new blood sport

Tally ho! The hounds have picked up a scent! It's a careers adviser.

Tally ho! The hounds have picked up a scent! It's a careers adviser.

Hunting of foxes with dogs is (for the moment) banned in the UK. However, hunting of careers advisers with questionable research is still apparently legal. There have been a number of instances over the last few months of careers-adviser bashing by various bodies.

Because these are not published in peer-reviewed journals they don’t have to explain exactly how they conducted their research and obtained their ‘evidence’. It’s very easy to produce dodgy statistics to support an argument which pushes your own predetermined agenda.
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Let the right one in

Unleashing Aspirations, the final report from the governmental Panel on Fair Access to the Professions has been released. The report looks at social mobility in the UK and specifically entry into society’s top jobs and professions, such as lawyers, civil servants, doctors, bankers, journalists and university vice chancellors.

Not surprisingly, the report shows that most professions have become increasingly exclusive, with increasing proportions of members coming from families with above average incomes. It criticises the professions for recruitment practices that directly and indirectly discriminate against students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Plus ça change…!

In 1968 Ken Roberts proposed his Theory of Occupational Allocation (or Opportunity Structure theory as it became known). After researching into the jobs of school leavers he proposed that individual choice had less of an impact on career destination than the social proximity of the options available based on gender, ethnicity and social class.

More recent theoretical concepts along similar lines have included habitus and social capital.

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