Career Decision Making

Choosing a career is one of the most important decision that people make during their lifetime. The career one pursues has significant implications on one’s lifestyle, economic and social status, and also impacts one’s emotional welfare. Given the importance, Career and Education related Decision Making or vocational guidance has been a subject of research for more than a century and has since established a comprehensive system of theories and interventions. The research has progressed particularly significantly in USA and Frank Parson an engineer by education, but also a lawyer, teacher and social reformer is considered as the father of the vocational guidance.  His work was published posthumously in 1911 as “Choosing a Vocation” and is known as the “trait and factor” theory or the “talent-matching approach". 

Career decision making research has not particularly progressed outside the western / developed world. However in the foreseeable future, the need for the same would become urgent in developing nations.  The driving factors are the significant rise of global workers who would be able to relocate easily across borders and making decisions based on global employment opportunities.  This trend is also being augmented by platforms like oDesk & eLance which are connecting buyers of specialist skills to sellers of these skills, providing easy access to web designers, software programmers, salespeople, translators and administrators. The demographics (e.g. In India almost half of the population of 1.25 billion people is under 24), rising income levels and maturing labor markets are other factors where career decision making on a global perspective is becoming important.

Leung, S. A. (2008) in their research on Internationalization of vocational guidance, identifies five significant theories of career development which have the potential to provide a global framework for career decision making and we leverage some of these in our decision framework.

  • Theory of Work-Adjustment
  • Holland’s Theory of Vocational Personalities in Work Environment
  • The Self-concept Theory of Career Development formulated by Super and Savickas
  • Gottfredson’s Theory of Circumscription and Compromise
  • Social Cognitive Career Theory