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South African Journal of Education

On-line version ISSN 2076-3433
Print version ISSN 0256-0100

S. Afr. j. educ. vol.40  suppl.1 Pretoria Apr. 2020 



Editorial: Renewing career counselling to promote the facilitation of sustainable decent work across the globe



Jacobus Gideon (Kobus) Maree

Guest editor




According to Krapivin (2018:para. 1) "[m]uch of life over the past century conformed to the three-stage model of study, work, retire. It's a model that was predicated on reasonably high levels of stability, both in the skills required in the workplace and also the labor market itself." Hirschi (2018) contends that digitisation and automation (Schwab, 2016) represent key socio-economic developments in the twenty-first century that impact the world of business and the world of work substantially. Hirschi (2018) supports the claims of, for instance, Arntz, Gregory and Zierahn (2016), Hartung and Cadaret (2017), Maree (2018), and Savickas (2015), who maintain that contemporary occupational changes will set in motion the altering or even elimination of many jobs and that many new jobs and industries will emerge and create numerous new occupations and industries but also new ways of work. To address these kinds of occupational phenomena and associated challenges, it will be important to revise and renovate current theoretical perspectives that buttress and guide career counselling' s response to changes in the occupational world (Hartung, 2011; Maree, 2013; Savickas, 2015; Savickas & Porfeli, 2012). Taking into consideration the significant developments in information communication technology (ICT), it has become essential to reflect critically on our research, theory, practice, and policy making in career counselling. Rethinking career counselling models should also relate to and tease out the development and application of critical skills (C' s) such as critical thinking, curiosity, creativity, collaboration, communication, and career agility (Andersen, 2017; Lozanov, 2018; Wolfe, 2017), which are currently beyond the capability of robots and artificial intelligence.

The majority of twenty-first century workers will expend their work-lives in the employ of multiple employers. They will face multiple challenges, such as merging their work and life roles, retaining their employability (Savickas & Porfeli, 2012), becoming resilient (Maree, 2017), becoming career agile, and staying relevant in a rapidly changing world of work. This will necessitate multiple changes in the contracts between employees and their employers. Current occupational trends such as the gig economy and digital nomads (Krapivin, 2018) demonstrate how these changes (that occur in occupational contexts) will enhance workers' sense of uncertainty and insecurity. Doyle (2017:para. 7) contends that "upgrading one's employment status has become an ongoing process" and argues in favour of people developing skills that cannot (easily) be automated or executed by robots.

Against this background, the special issue is premised on the view that being given opportunities to work is a basic human right. Moreover, it supports the view that fewer and fewer people are enjoying the right to work. In addition, many workers are being substituted by artificial intelligence and robots to reduce costs and increases profits. Consequently, many people cannot provide in their own and their families' needs and this gives rise to emotional challenges. Accordingly, work- and self-identity are increasingly affected negatively. This makes it more difficult to retain a sound sense of self. Lastly, over and above (under- and) unemployment being morally indefensible, unpleasant and painful, the serious threat that is posed to global peace should not be underestimated.

To remain useful and valuable to people, career counselling should aim to address the changed needs of workers and work-seekers (Krapivin, 2018). While aiming to helping people choose a field of study and a career, the emphasis will largely shift to helping them design themselves and construct their careers (Savickas, 2019). As stated above, career counsellors should continuously rethink the theory and practice of career counselling to promote these aims (Duarte, 2017; Guichard, 2013; Hartung, 2015; Maree, 2018; Savickas, 2015). Therefore, contemporary theoretical perspectives on career counselling should be premised on the assumption that predicted major work-related threats should be regarded as challenges to be transformed into opportunities instead of as overwhelming "problems." Whereas, in the past, "unmanageable" technological advances have often caused widespread job losses, at the same time, people have always managed to create innovative work-related opportunities.

As always, this issue includes contributions that are diverse in terms of gender and race but also transnational, national, international, transdisciplinary and interdisciplinary. Moreover, individually and collectively, the contributions shed light on a number of issues that are key to renewing career counselling to promote the facilitation of sustainable decent work across the globe. In this issue, the reader will find four stimulating contributions that range across the research methodology spectrum. Authors deal with theoretical issues but also report on research from quantitative, qualitative, as well as from an integrated qualitative and quantitative perspective. Above all, the authors have crafted contributions that can be characterised as innovative and challenging.

Typical research questions that have been addressed include the following:

How can we draw on current career counselling models to promote sustainable decent work to pre-empt challenges brought about by the fourth industrial revolution?

Which new career counselling approaches can be devised to advance sustainable decent work for all at a time when digitisation and automation are snowballing and contributing to multiple job losses?

How can we advance career counselling through education?

What can we do to maximise people's access to decent work?

How can people manage their careers to enhance their chances to access decent work?

What implications do changes in the world of work hold for the career counselling theory, practice, research and policy?


What Readers can Expect in this Issue

In the first article, Career counselling and sustainable decent work: Relationships and tensions, Mary McMahon and Mark Watson (2020) argue that the notion of decent work is both an ideal worth pursuing and a fundamental human right. Expectedly, therefore, an acute awareness has been raised of the decent work agenda in career counselling. Moreover, this agenda poses challenges about possible roles that career counselling theorists, practitioners, researchers, and policy makers can play with regard to achieving sustainable decent work for all. The fact that the idea of decent work promotes the social justice values of career counselling especially has received much attention. However, little has been written about how career counselling can potentially contribute to the actual realisation of decent work for all. In their article McMahon and Watson (2020) reflect on the contexts of decent work, career counselling, and social justice, and contemplate the relationships and tensions between these notions. More particularly, the authors address questions about the kinds of questions that are being asked of career counselling in its quest to promote decent work. In their contribution, the authors consider the potential role of career counselling in both the contemporary and the emerging labour market.

In the second article, The development of a universal and cultural values scale for values education, Ebru Elçi and Hüseyin Uzunboylu (2020) elaborate on the development of the Universal and Cultural Values Scale (UCVS), which aims to measure universal and cultural values that need to be incorporated in primary education. The study was conducted with 360 5th-grade learners who attended primary schools in Istanbul during the 2018-2019 academic year. The scale yielded good psychometric properties, confirming its potential use as a valid and reliable measure that can be used in schools and elsewhere to determine primary school learners' attitudes towards universal and cultural values.

In the third article, Connecting conscious knowledge with subconscious advice through career construction counselling to resolve career choice indecision, Kobus Maree (2020) reports on how conscious knowledge could be connected with subconscious advice by means of career construction counselling to clarify the career choice indecision of a postgraduate psychology student. Using an explanatory, single case study design and a qualitative approach as the research framework, the author used a career construction counselling intervention to generate data. The findings confirm the value of this kind of intervention in empowering the participant to reflect critically on central facets of his career-life story. The intervention enabled the participant to uncover the difference between his conscious observation with regard to a possible future career-life trajectory and his subconsciously regulated perceptions on that trajectory.

In the concluding article, School counsellors' perceptions of working with gifted students, Deniz Ozcan and Hüseyin Uzunboylu (2020) report the findings of their research on the perceptions of school counsellors working with gifted learners in schools. Using a qualitative research design and involving 52 school counsellors working in primary schools of private colleges that accommodate gifted Turkish learners in Turkey, the authors implemented a semi-structured interview schedule to generate data. Content analysis of the data revealed that school counsellors working with gifted learners need training on how to provide efficient counselling and guidance to these learners to help them deal with personal, academic, and social challenges.

In conclusion, we thank all our colleagues involved in the editorial and publishing process for their exceptional guidance, help, and support. We would like to especially thank Professor Ronél Ferreira (Editor-inChief) as well as Ms Estelle Botha (Administrative Editor) for their compassionate and brilliant support. Lastly, we thank the reviewers for their selfless and expert help. We hope you will enjoy reading this issue of the SAJE.



Andersen M 2017. Why career agility is your competitive advantage. Available at Accessed 11 October 2018.         [ Links ]

Arntz M, Gregory T & Zierahn U 2016. The risk of automation for jobs in OECD countries: A comparative analysis (OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers, No. 189). Paris, France: OECD Publishing.        [ Links ]

Doyle A 2017. How often do people change jobs? Available at Accessed 14 September 2018.         [ Links ]

Duarte ME 2017. Sustainable decent work. Invited public lecture at University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa, 4 June.         [ Links ]

Elçi E & Uzunboylu H 2020. The development of a universal and cultural values scale for values education [Special issue]. South African Journal of Education, 40(S1):Art. #1850, 8 pages.        [ Links ]

Guichard J 2013. Career guidance, education, and dialogues for a fair and sustainable human development. Paper presented at the Inaugural Conference of the UNESCO Chair of Lifelong Guidance and Counselling, Poland, 26-27 November.         [ Links ]

Hartung PJ 2011. Career construction: Principles and practice. In K Maree (ed). Shaping the story: A guide to facilitating narrative counselling. Rotterdam, The Netherlands: Sense.         [ Links ]

Hartung PJ 2015. Life design in childhood - Antecedents and advancement. In L Nota & J Rossier (eds). Handbook of life design: From practice to theory and from theory to practice. Göttingen, Germany: Hogrefe Publishing.         [ Links ]

Hartung PJ & Cadaret MC 2017. Career adaptability: Changing self and situation for satisfaction and success. In K Maree (ed). Psychology of career adaptability, employability and resilience. Cham, Switzerland: Springer.        [ Links ]

Hirschi A 2018. The fourth industrial revolution: Issues and implications for career research and practice. The Career Development Quarterly, 66(3):192-204.        [ Links ]

Krapivin P 2018. The study, work, retire model is broken as we live until 100. Available at Accessed 14 September 2018.         [ Links ]

Lozanov L 2018. The six Cs of career agility. Available at Accessed 10 October 2018.         [ Links ]

Maree JG 2013. Counselling for career construction. Connecting life themes to construct life portraits: Turning pain into hope. Rotterdam, The Netherlands: Sense.         [ Links ]

Maree JG 2018. Contextualisation as a determining factor for career counselling throughout the world. In JA Athanasou & HN Perera (eds). International handbook of career guidance (2nd ed). New York, NY: Springer.         [ Links ]

Maree JG 2020. Connecting conscious knowledge with subconscious advice through career construction counselling to resolve career choice indecision [Special issue]. South African Journal of Education, 40(S1):Art. #1863, 13 pages.        [ Links ]

Maree K (ed.) 2017. Psychology of career adaptability, employability and resilience. Cham, Switzerland: Springer.        [ Links ]

McMahon M & Watson M 2020. Career counselling and sustainable decent work: Relationships and tensions [Special issue]. South African Journal of Education, 40(S1):Art. #1881, 9 pages.        [ Links ]

Ozcan D & Uzunboylu H 2020. School counsellors' perceptions of working with gifted students [Special issue]. South African Journal of Education, 40(S1):Art. #1899, 9 pages.        [ Links ]

Savickas ML 2015. Career counseling paradigms: Guiding, developing, and designing. In PJ Hartung, ML Savickas & WB Walsh (eds). APA handbook of career intervention (Vol. 1: Foundations). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.         [ Links ]

Savickas ML 2019. Designing a self and constructing a career in post-traditional societies. Keynote address delivered at the 43rd conference of the International Association of Educational and Vocational Guidance, Bratislava, Slovakia, 11-13 September.         [ Links ]

Savickas ML & Porfeli EJ 2012. Career Adapt-Abilities Scale: Construction, reliability, and measurement equivalence across 13 countries. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 80(3):661-673.        [ Links ]

Schwab K 2016. The fourth industrial revolution. New York, NY: Crown Publishing.         [ Links ]

Wolfe I 2017. Six critical skills for tomorrow's workplace. Available at Accessed 14 September 2018.         [ Links ]

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