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Clear role for career management sector as partner for transitions in the new normal

On February 11, the World Employment Confederation’s members operating in the Career Management sector organised a virtual roundtable to discuss the role of the industry in the aftermath of the Covid-19 crisis and in building a strong recovery.

Published on 14th February 2021

According to a survey conducted amongst members of the sector’s main trade associations (WEC and ACF international), the provision of career transition services is expected to grow by up to 10% globally in 2021. Governments around the world have adjusted differently to the crisis, either focusing on supporting people who lost their job through unemployment benefits or establishing short-time work schemes and forbidding lay offs to keep workers on payroll. Whatever the solution chosen, warn career management experts, they are only short-term fixes and a further wave of restructuring is to be expected.

Fast and targeted work transitions for a sustainable recovery

More sustainable and resilient solutions are needed. The Covid-19 pandemic is not the only factor disrupting the world of work, explained a representative of a trade union. Climate change and digitalization are also causing some sectors to decline and others to thrive. Rather than being kept in jobs that risk becoming obsolete, workers need to be accompanied, retrained if needed, and oriented towards new opportunities in the sectors in demand.

The challenge is that, too often, workers ignore what opportunities lie ahead. A recent OECD report shows that 57% of adults who do not use career guidance services report that they do not feel they need to. That’s where career management experts can step in. They can help individuals identify the skills that are transferrable to a different occupation, orient them towards the appropriate training opportunities and ultimately connect them to work opportunities. The support does not only help to secure a new job, it also enables faster transitions. The longer a transition lasts, the more one’s employability declines and the more it costs to society.

Human focus to the benefit of the organisation

The roundtable participants also highlighted how much of a mental support the personalized, one-to-one guidance by a career coach can be; helping people to refocus as they navigate change. In the context of the Covid-19 pandemic and rising mental health issues, this expertise will be increasingly valuable.

And the benefits are not only for the individuals, WEC members pointed. Employers ultimately benefit from supporting employees in their career journey. They can avoid costly lay-offs or restructuring by redeploying people internally. Taking care of current and departing employees also benefits the image of the company.

The cooperation imperative to build resilient systems

There is a clear need in the new normal for more and better support to transitions – for both individuals and organisations, agreed the roundtable participants. The public and private sector can work more closely to enable such support. Governments and public employment services usually intervene when people exit the labour market but through career management services, support could be provided way earlier. Career management experts can help people and organisations anticipate change and understand opportunities by simplifying the complexity of labour markets.

Social dialogue can be an instrument in building such better and more resilient solutions. Their knowledge – combined with the expertise of the private sector – can further help putting the economy on the path to recovery.

This roundtable discussion was organized in the context of the WEC Career Management members’ strategic meeting.

During the meeting, the group also elected Murielle Antille, SVP Government and Industry Affairs at LHH as its new chair. She succeeds Ranjit de Sousa, President of LHH, who chaired the group since its inception in 2018.

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