Theme: Promoting career development: Managing challenges and exploiting opportunities associated with the Covid-19 pandemic
The Editor-in-Chief of the African Journal of Career Development (AJCD) invites you to submit your latest research towards the latest special issue.
Background on the issue:
Much has changed since the first person was diagnosed with Covid-19 (a disease caused by the new coronavirus and now referred to as SARS-CoV-2) and reported on by health administrators in Wuhan City, China, in December 2019. In addition to the effect of the virus on people’s health in general, the Covid-19 pandemic has changed the world of work fundamentally and, in many ways, irrevocably. Millions of people have already lost their work, and millions more may be without employment in the foreseeable future (Bureau of Labour Statistics, 2020). The International Labour Organization (ILO, 2020) estimates that roughly 305 million people have lost their jobs globally. The ILO (2020) estimates also that about 1.6 billion people working in the informal economy have been seriously negatively impacted by lockdown measures and/or by working in sectors that have been the hardest hit by the virus. Millions of low-income, vulnerable workers in particular are at greatest risk of losing their jobs. Kelly (2020, p. 1) maintains that “[t]he coronavirus has changed the job market almost overnight. The global outbreak has seriously impacted the economy and job security. It will have long-lasting, game-changing ramifications”. Hooley, Sultana, and Thomsen (2020) contend that while the pandemic’s primary threat is to people’s health, its threat to the economy “is likely to have an even greater impact. We can expect unemployment to rise, occupational shifting to increase, and job content to change” (p. 3).
The effect of the virus – seen particularly against the background of fundamental technological advances in the nature of work – will be felt increasingly by low and unskilled workers, work-seekers, unemployed people who have given up hope of finding work, learners, and students across the world. Moreover, spiralling inequality in the workplace exacerbates divisions in the current workplace. For many reasons (including the serious health and work-related threats posed by the pandemic), large numbers of people are allowed or compelled to work remotely. Whether they will ever be able to return to the workplace is unclear. Whereas the majority of more privileged (skilled) workers may be able to work from home, those less privileged are often expected to shuttle to and from the workplace, running the risk of contracting the coronavirus.
Against this background, the need for career development at every level will be heightened as people seek to regain some control over a work situation that is widely regarded as already totally out of control. Not only the content but also the mode and levels at which career development is provided will have to be renegotiated and innovated to enable those of us working in the twin fields of career development and career counselling to deal with the changed requirements of clients in a scientifically accountable manner. The need for telehealth (e-health and, from the perspective of this Special Issue, e- or tele-career counselling) has increased and will continue to increase. However, while progress has been made over the past months, various aspects of e-health interventions (for instance, e-career counselling) still need clarification. More specifically, more research needs to be done on the value of tee-counselling value, its advantages and its disadvantages in individual and group contexts (in online as well as in-person contexts), and in both Global North and Global South countries. Likewise, the basic aspects of contextualised career development (in individual and group contexts and in online as well as in-person settings) require careful examination.
The abiding question is: How can we best harness career development interventions to manage challenges and use opportunities associated with the Covid-19 pandemic? Fourth Industrial Revolution advances have, to a certain extent at least, given rise to a number of innovations in career counselling and development (Maree, 2020). This has expedited the design of new strategies to deal with the effects of the pandemic. Naidoo (2019) contends that we should endeavour to anticipate the future world of work and plan our interventions based on the following two future scenarios.
First, a dystopian scenario where the human race could eventually be eradicated by its own creations, for example where robots acquire artificial super-intelligence, refuse to accept instructions from human beings, and begin to issue instructions themselves. Second, a utopian scenario where artificial intelligence and robotics reduce our workload as human beings by doing boring, repetitive work; help us make ‘wise’ decisions; and allow us more time to do the things that add meaning and purpose to our career-lives and rekindle our sense of hope for the future. With the necessary support structures in place and the compassionate help of significant others, humankind has the ingenuity to transform even serious coronavirus ‘problems’ into opportunities and successes, questions into answers, and life themes into motivations. I believe that together career counselling professionals can successfully manage all the challenges confronting them (Savickas, 2019a).
The aim of our collective and individual responses as career counsellors should be to update, innovate, contextualise, de-contextualise, re-contextualise, and co-contextualise career development theory, research, practical intervention, and policy-making endeavours and, in the process, facilitate sustainable, decent work for all despite the challenges posed and magnified by the coronavirus epidemic (Guichard, 2013; Maree & Di Fabio, 2019; Ribeiro & Guilherme de Oliveira, 2018). In the words of Savickas (2019b): “The future of the profession rests on our ability to develop new models and methods to help individuals cope with the new organization of work that is becoming increasingly less predictable, regulated, stable, and orderly” (n.p.).
We are therefore obliged to continue our dialogue on the issues discussed here until we have succeeded in promoting career development by exploiting the opportunities and solving the problems presented by the Covid-19 pandemic. The key aim of this special issue of the AJCD is to maintain and enhance such dialogue.
Types of manuscripts we are looking for:
We welcome proposals for innovative micro-, meso- and macro-interventions that use career development as a vehicle for enhancing people’s ability to negotiate multiple career-related transitions.
Typical questions requiring answers are the following:
- What are some of the regnant models for promoting career development by managing the challenges and exploiting the opportunities associated with the Covid-19 pandemic, and how can these models be advanced?
- How can career development be promoted by managing the challenges and exploiting the opportunities associated with the Covid-19 pandemic?
- How can we promote career development by managing the challenges and exploiting the opportunities associated with the Covid-19 pandemic through education at various levels and in various formats?
- What can the public sector, the private sector, individual people, civil society, and policy-makers do to promote career development by managing the challenges and exploiting the opportunities associated with the Covid-19 pandemic and, in doing so, enhance the ability of workers, unemployed people, work-seekers, learners, and students to negotiate multiple career-related transitions?
We welcome thought-provoking, constructive contributions from across the spectrum of research methodologies – manuscripts that deal with theoretical and practical issues and that report on research from a quantitative, a qualitative, a mixed-methods, or an integrative qualitative-quantitative perspective (Hartung & Santili, 2018; Maree, 2013, 2019).
For the purposes of the current guest issue, contributing authors are requested to consider the term ‘career development’ as including associated constructs such as information provision, placement, coaching, vocational guidance, career education, psychological counselling, career guidance, career advice, career counselling, as well as life designing and healing (Savickas, 2015).
Please e-mail proposals for articles to email@example.com. In your proposal, please include:
- the proposed title,
- a brief abstract (maximum word count of 250 words),
- author names, e-mail addresses, and affiliations of contributing authors, and
- contact details of the corresponding author.
Please submit your proposal by no later than 30 April 2021. Proposals will be considered, and you will be notified about the outcome as soon as possible. Complete manuscripts should be submitted for review before 31 July 2021. Submissions should be made on-line through the AJCD’s website.
Only in exceptional cases may manuscripts be submitted by e-mail attachment to the guest editor Kobus Maree (firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, or firstname.lastname@example.org) Submitted manuscripts will undergo peer review, and authors will normally receive the results of the review within six weeks of submission of their manuscripts. We hope to complete the proofreading and editing of the guest issue by 30 November 2021. The issue will be published on-line in a form that is fully citable. Hard copy publication will occur at the earliest opportunity in 2022.
List of References
- Autin, K. L., Blustein, D. L., Ali, S. R., & Garriott, P. O. (2020). Career Development Impacts of COVID-19: Practice and policy recommendations. Journal of Career Development, 47(5), 487-494.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2020, June). The employment situation – June 2020. https://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/empsit.pdf
- Guichard, J. (2013, November). Career guidance, education, and dialogues for fair and sustainable human development. Inaugural conference of the UNESCO chair of Lifelong Guidance and Counseling, University of Wroclaw, Poland.
- Hooley, T., Sultana, R., & Thomsen, R. (2020). Why a social justice informed approach to career guidance matters in the time of coronavirus. https://careerguidancesocialjustice.wordpress.com/2020/03/23/why-a-social-justice-informed-approach-to-career-guidance-matters-in-the-time-of-coronavirus/
- Hartung, P. J., & Santili, S. (2018). My Career Story: Description and initial validity evidence. Journal of Career Assessment, 26(2), 308-321
- International Labor Organization (ILO). (2020, 29 April). As job losses escalate, nearly half of global workforce at risk of losing livelihoods. https://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/—dgreports/—dcomm/documents/briefingnote/wcms_743146.pdf
- Kelly, J. (2020). The coronavirus effect: Here are the jobs that will be added and lost. https://www.forbes.com/sites/jackkelly/2020/03/19/the-coronavirus-effect-here-are-the-jobs-that-will-be-added-and-lost/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=career&cid=5cbf279f1802c8c524aef51c#3878564f2a1c
- Maree, J. G. (2013). Counselling for career construction. Connecting life themes to construct life portraits: Turning pain into hope. Rotterdam, The Netherlands: Sense.
- Maree, J. G. (2018). Using life design counseling for career construction to facilitate sustainable employability and decent work in a developing country context. In V. Cohen-Scali, J. Pouyaud, M. Podgórny, V. Drabik-Podgórny, G. Aisenson, J-L. Bernaud, I. Moumoula., J. Guichard (Eds.), Interventions in career design and education (pp. 195-214). New York, NY: Springer.
- Maree, J. G. (2019). Contextualisation as a determining factor for career counselling throughout the world. In J. A. Athanasou & H. N. Perera (Eds.), International handbook of career guidance (2nd ed.; pp. 555-578). New York: Springer.
- Maree, J. G. (2020). Innovating counseling for self- and career construction: Connecting conscious knowledge with subconscious insight. New York, NY: Springer.
- Maree, J. G., & Di Fabio, A. (2019). Integrating personal and career counseling to promote sustainable development and change. Personality and Individual differences, 10(11). doi:10.3390/su10114176
- Naidoo, V. (2019). The Fifth Industrial Revolution looms. https://www.itweb.co.za/content/WnxpE74D2jg7V8XL
- Ribeiro, M. A., & Guilherme de Oliveira, S. F. (2018). Impacts of a group-based career counseling model for unskilled adults in crisis: A case study. In A. Di Fabio & J.-L. Bernaud (Eds.), Narrative interventions in post-modern guidance and career counseling (pp. 87-118). https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-98300-4_6
- Savickas, M. L. (2015). Career counselling paradigms: Guiding, developing, and designing. In P. Hartung, M. Savickas, & W. B. Walsh (Eds.), APA handbook of career intervention, Volume 1: Foundations (pp. 129-143). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
- Savickas, M. L. (2019a). Career Counseling. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
- Savickas, M. L. (2019b, September). Designing a self and constructing a career in post-traditional societies. Keynote address at the 43rd international association for educational and vocational guidance Conference, Bratislava, Slovakia.
Prof Jacobus Gideon (Kobus) Maree