The role of career guidance in a changing world of work

Human-centered career guidance and employment services can support the transition or re-entry of job seekers into employment, meet the needs of enterprises and contribute to economic priorities.

Comment | 16 February 2022
By Max Tuñón, Head of the ILO Project Office for the State of Qatar
The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a heavy toll on the global labour market, with 52 million jobs lost in the past two years, and major disruptions to the way we work. But even before the pandemic, the world of work was already going through unprecedented transformations, primarily due to technological innovations, demographic shifts and climate change.

These changes are making many traditional occupations obsolete, and at the same time are leading to the emergence of new job opportunities and forms of employment. Qatar has a unique labour market, but is not immune to these changes.

In the menu of policy responses, along with more investment in people’s capabilities and labour market institutions, governments should invest in the provision of career guidance in education, training and employment services.

Career guidance services and activities help people identify and seize training and job opportunities in line with their interests and personal goals. However, to be effective, these services must be human-centered and also take into account the evolving needs of the labour market, the availability of training centers, and the broader national economic objectives.

As reflected in the National Vision 2030, and as echoed recently in the discussions of the Shura Council, there is an increased need to link education outputs to the needs of the labour market to increase the participation of Qatari workers across all sectors of the economy.

These goals link two pillars of the National Vision - the Human Development pillar and the Economic Development pillar. Career guidance supports the development of a more adaptive and resilient workforce which can result in competitive gains for enterprises.

Career guidance can also contribute to the transformation of the Qatari economy into a knowledge-based economy, characterized by innovation, entrepreneurship, and excellence in education. In order to achieve economic diversification, further participation of Qatari nationals in emerging and strategic sectors must be incentivized.  However, in order to achieve this, investments must be placed in training and tailored career development support to facilitate the transition into sustainable and attractive employment opportunities.

In this regard, it is important to recall that career guidance can assist individuals regardless of their age, and at any point throughout their working lives in making educational, training and occupational choices.
Young people can be supported in making informed professional choices that take into account existing and future skills needs in the economy, and supported to be autonomous in managing their careers. Higher education students can be assisted in developing job-relevant skill-sets and establishing contacts in the labour market.

Also - in line with the national strategy to increase female labour force participation, options for young women can be diversified, including their transition in STEAM professions and those that have traditionally been male-dominated. Outreach initiatives could be organized for adult women who have left the labour market, to support their re-entry, including through re-skilling and up-skilling programmes.

To achieve this, the ILO encourages an approach that engages all relevant ministries and civil society stakeholders, including strong cooperation with the business community. Initiatives like the recent Career Guidance Stakeholders Platform 2022, and the continued efforts of Qatar Career Development Centre to build networks are key to raise the profile of the potential and strategic importance of career guidance.

In Qatar, through our partnership with the Ministry of Labour, the ILO stands ready to provide support to the assessment and development of national career guidance systems, and to harness labour market intelligence from both the demand and supply sides to inform evidence-based policy making.

Despite alarming post-pandemic projections of a slow and uncertain global economic recovery ahead, investing in career guidance and better links between education and the labour market will ensure more workers and enterprises are prepared for the challenges and opportunities that the future of work will present us.