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Careers Guidance: Understanding the behaviour of individuals

Career guidance: Understanding the behaviour of individualsUnderstanding how and why individuals make career decisions can help improve the delivery of careers guidance. This report explores individuals’ beliefs, values and motivations in making career decisions and proposes areas for further consideration as new approaches to delivering careers guidance are developed.

Careers Guidance: Understanding the behaviour of individuals (PDF, 186 Kb) 
Published July 2011

The traditional model of career guidance is one where the skills of an individual are ‘matched’ to the requirements of job roles. The underpinning assumption in this model is that when individuals are given information about the labour market, they will use this to make rational career decisions. However, in a fluctuating labour market, providing perfect information is difficult, and individuals frequently do not make decisions that are rational, but that are based on their beliefs, values and motivations. Gaining a better understanding of why and how individuals make career decisions, could help inform delivery of better tailored career guidance. 

The UK Commission for Employment and Skills carried out work in 2010-11 to identify the potential of using new technologies to transform career guidance. Several pieces of work were commissioned to provide an evidence base including a study carried out by INON.  INON used the techniques and insights of behavioural economics which is one approach that can be taken to build a picture of how individuals use information to make decisions. This report provides a summary of INON’s work.

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