First research findings on career guidance of employees

Are companies supporting the career development of their employees and how? How are HR staff being prepared to perform career guidance and counselling activities? What needs to be done to ensure that career development is truly lifelong and more employees have the opportunity to receive quality career guidance services? These are some of the questions that Belgrade Open School seeks to answer through research that has been launched as a part of the international CONNECT initiative! Connecting Career Counselling and Human Resource Development in Enterprises for Higher Education and Training in Practice (CONNECT!)

Not enough support for employees' career development

The first phase of the survey represents an overview of existing analyzes, initiatives, and resources related to this topic, conducted in Germany, Italy, Greece, Austria, the Netherlands, and Serbia.

By reviewing the existing research conducted within this area, we have found that the companies in Serbia have a low level of usage of career development techniques. The reasons for this are attributed to the lack of contemporary knowledge in the field of management accompanied by the lack of financial resources for their implementation.

The most frequent methods for employee career development are different learning projects and training at work, followed by networking and mentoring which leaves Serbian companies behind the European average in terms of applying other methods such as succession plans, “high flier” schemes, experience schemes (internal movement to another department, whether in the same country or abroad) and coaching. However, we have also identified some examples of innovative practices for supporting employees' career development programs, which have been created in several larger companies. An example of this is the use of the design thinking method as a support for the development of employees' careers.

Still insufficient preparation of experts to support the career development of employees

An important question that we are analyzing within this research is related to the extent to which the staff in the human resources sector and career practitioners are prepared to support the career development of employees. By analyzing the study programs that prepare students for employment in the human resources sector, we have found that some of them have content related to career development but that usually contemporary theoretical and methodological knowledge in the field of career guidance is not included in the curricula. As there are currently no study programs available for career counsellors, it is clear that career practitioners do not have much opportunity to develop knowledge in the field of human resources.

In the coming period, the BOS research team will continue to collect data on this topic. The results of the survey conducted in all six countries will be available through the project web site