Choosing a career is an important milestone in most people’s lives. Although the modern world does not necessitate settling with a single choice of occupation for the entirety of life, the problem of finding a job is still relevant. Specifically, people of diverse origins face difficulties with choosing a career because of biased attitudes and career counselors’ predispositions. Ranging from age to the choice of partners, the factors that prevent a client from receiving fair treatment are multivariate. Ascertaining the issues for diverse clients’ employment is essential in understanding what strategies and practices to deliver adequate career counseling services.
Diversity is the reality of the modern world, which manifests itself in all spheres of life. As migration intensifies, populations merge, leading to the combination of numerous representatives of different ethnicities, ages, genders, and abilities. The higher the diversity is, the more difficult it is to develop unified career counseling guidelines, which would pertain to everyone. Traditionally, it is believed that “individuals possess measurable characteristics, or traits, and abilities that match the requirements of certain occupations” (Busacca & Rehfuss, 2016). The problem with this approach is that the criteria for evaluating personal qualities are culturally subjective. Once applied to people with different characteristics, they do not yield the same results.
Career counseling has been affected by a high number of prejudices and biases. Social stereotypes prevent many minorities from getting employed or receiving adequate advice. For instance, people of South African descent are generally considered to be poorly educated and not qualified for high responsibility jobs (Maree, 2016). Similarly, LGBT individuals often have to conceal their sexual orientation in order to receive treatment equal to the mainstream heterosexual population (Ng & Rumens, 2017). It is common knowledge that age is also an influential factor. Older people are passed in favor of younger workers, who, in their turn, are believed to lack experience. Subsequently, the more a person differs from the standard, the less likely they are to receive adequate career counseling.
Career Counselling Strategies for Diverse Clients
If counselors cannot overcome personal biases, it might be useful to shift attention to jobs instead. The first strategy is evaluating careers based on their flexibility. Maree (2016) defines career adaptability as a “psychosocial process that refers to people’s readiness to manage transitions and changes and to construct themselves” (p. 2). This approach will help manage diverse clients by accentuating the modern requirement of constant adaptation to new working conditions (Wen et al., 2020). The counselor can consider how often the client had to show flexibility to cope with societal pressures and recommend them a position that requires a person with an open-minded perspective. As a result, the unconventional background will benefit those who seek employment.
The second strategy is to use individualized feedback to create career advice. Instead of focusing on the job, this approach entails focusing on the client’s personal traits (Wen et al., 2020). In essence, the counselor should ascertain the experience, education, and work aptitude disregarding ethnicity, gender, or age. Based on the client’s feedback, their portfolio will be created, which would incorporate all prior client endeavors. Then, the counselor will match careers requirements with the portfolio’s data. It is essential to ensure that the impact of the client’s background is minimized. Thus, all people who need employment will receive fair treatment.
Workers’ Rights and Fair Employment Practices
Unfair treatment of minorities may constitute a violation of the law of equal employment opportunity (EEO). In the United States, it is a legal obligation of the authority to prohibit discrimination in any form, including age, gender, any physical attributes, or social views (Edelman, 2016). This implies that any person can ask for career advice and expect employment and treatment free of biases. Another implication is that any counselor who denies the right to employment by accentuating the clients’ differences violates the law.
It should be noted that the overall level of racism has significantly decreased. However, Edelman (2016) argues that there are still “systematic patterns of race and sex segregation in the labor market and within organizations” (p. 9). He points to numerous occasions when women and men are offered different conditions, with employers preferring men for managerial positions. The same pattern is reported by Maree (2016) in regards to the black population. In terms of EEO (Equal Employment Opportunities) legislation, such instances constitute legal issues, which are not publicly known.
Altogether, it should be evident that career counseling practice contradicts the theory which presupposes unbiased treatment. Even the slightest diversion from the standard leads to a different attitude at work or prejudices in the selection of appropriate jobs. In the same manner, men receive preferential treatment in comparison to women, while white people are more likely to be recommended a high-paying position than the representatives of other ethnicities. This paradigm constitutes a violation of the law of equal employment opportunity. Possible strategies to ameliorate the situation include a focus on career adaptability and giving advice based on individualized feedback. Combined with the counselors’ expertise, they will contribute to the mitigation of career counseling discrimination.
Busacca, L. A., & Rehfuss, M. C. (Eds.). (2016). Postmodern career counseling: A handbook of culture, context, and cases (1st ed.). American Counseling Association.
Edelman, L. B. (2016). Working law: Courts, corporations, and symbolic civil rights. University of Chicago Press.
Maree, J. G. (2016). Career construction counseling with a mid‐career black man. The Career Development Quarterly, 64(1), 20-34. Web.
Ng, E. S., & Rumens, N. (2017). Diversity and inclusion for LGBT workers: Current issues and new horizons for research. Canadian Journal of Administrative Sciences, 34(2), 109-120. Web.
Wen, Y., Chen, H., Li, K., & Gu, X. (2020). The challenges of life design counseling in the times of the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19). Frontiers in Psychology, 11(1235). 1-5. Web.