What is Career Mapping?
Career Mapping is an education planning resource that sees choosing education for employment as a process of expansion rather than elimination. It guides students to their first occupation (career readiness) and all other occupations that follow helping them expand their options (career security).
It illustrates the interconnection of pathways in the Arts, Sciences, Business and Technology to show students how to access a wide range of occupational routes and opportunities available to them that are often hidden or not made explicit by using traditional career assessment type resources.
It shows students what they need to do to get their first career occupation and how to grow or pivot their career options as the workplace changes.
Why was Career Mapping created?
Career Mapping was created for two main reasons.
Often students who need the least amount of help are well serviced by career or labour market information AND students who need the most help are left without information, resources or support.
For example, students pursuing fields like Accounting, Welding, Teaching, Nursing, or Engineering can look at labour market information and see a direct path between their degree or program and their entry into their set profession.
Whereas, students in sciences, humanities, social sciences, or creative arts programs cannot see a direct connection between labour market information and direct access to an occupation. Yet these fields are responsible for producing the majority of the workforce. The challenge is that students cannot see their path forward and this causes major stress.
It also gives students a false sense that they are limited in their career options – when in fact these areas of study lead to employment in all the high demand sectors – such as Health, Technology, Business, etc.
Results from the 2016 Academic Advising in BC, by the BC Council on Admissions and Transfer (BCCAT) and the 2018-19 Pan-Canadian Advising survey indicated advisors have little information about what career options are available from post-secondary programs. In fact, 91% of the Pan-Canadian survey respondents reported the “what can I do with my degree” was the main question student ask during an advising appointment.
The 2018 the Conference Board of Canada came to a similar conclusion in it’s report “Getting to Work. Career Skills Development for Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH) Graduates”. This report found that graduates of SSH undergraduate programs face challenging career transitions because they have a limited understanding of possible career paths.
Career mapping was developed to provide Academic Advisors with this much needed information.
Besides students & advisors who else could benefit from Career Mapping?
We know that faculty have become a primary resource for career information for their students. Yet faculty often know about career opportunities based on their own experiences or network relationships. Career Mapping can make it easy for faculty to see the wide range of occupations that their students will be capable of accessing. It can help them advise students and help inform their curriculum planning.
A common exercise when developing a new degree or major is conducting the research required to demonstrate the career possibilities and labour market demand for the new initiative. It is common for program developers to rely on WorkBC for data. However, it is a complex task for program developers and faculty to map their proposed program concepts to emerging labour market trends or to demonstrate how new proposed program concepts will address gaps in filling in-demand occupations. Career Mapping can support this work and provide insight that is not easily available from an environmental scan of WorkBC or the Student Outcome’s Data.
What problem does Career Mapping solve?
Career Mapping solves four main frustrations or problems.
- Standard career assessment tools try to eliminate career options – not illuminate possibilities
- Students are stressed not being able to imagine or see ways to expand their career options/possibilities. They are seeking resources that demonstrate there is hope for their future
- Resources like EducationPlannerBC are not able to link programs to specific career options beyond obvious connects or very broad high-level occupation categories. As a result, it is impossible for students to fully understand career potential from any one program.
- Universities, on their websites, often provide a list of occupations their grads are doing for careers, but they don’t tell students how their grads actually got to certain occupations. Career mapping has researched this and tells students what they will need to do to access specific occupations.
How often is Career Mapping updated?
Career Mapping is updated on a continual basis. Canada’s National Occupation Codes (NOC) are used as the foundation for mapping. However, it is important to note that job titles and new occupations are emerging all the time. Many of these new jobs are not captured in the NOC system. As a result, Career Mapping monitors all major job posting boards and stay current on labour market information both nationally and internationally. This research informs ongoing updates to Career Mapping.
What UFV programs are included in Career Mapping?
Career Mapping includes all academic programs offered in Arts, Sciences, and Professional Studies. This includes certificates and diplomas that ladder or transfer. Degrees are mapped at the major or honour level. Nursing, Kinesiology and Engineering are captured under Science. Where programs are interdisciplinary such as Geography or the Bachelor of Integrated Studies they are cross-listed.
Does Career Mapping include Bachelor’s Degrees with extended minors?
At this time extended minors are not mapped explicitly in Career Mapping. However, if students have completed an Extended Minor in their degree program many of the occupational pathways at the major level in Career Mapping will apply. One thing to consider if students are building on their education to pursue another occupation the requires a graduate degree, they may require few additional upper-level courses in their field of study. The final decision for any more course work will rest solely with the receiving institution offering the advanced credential.
Can Career Mapping tell me the exact prerequisite courses needed when changing my education paths to access a specific occupation?
Career Mapping will let you know if you will likely need specific prerequisite courses to access the education need. However, it will not tell you the exact courses. There are too many variables among individual universities and with each student’s individual situation. There are also different requirements between provinces. We recommend students talk to an Academic Advisor at either the institution they are at or at the institutions they wish to attend. An advisor can help make a course transition or transfer plan.
Is Career Mapping responsible for the education planning decision I make?
Career Mapping helps you explore all your options. However, which option you select is best made by you. It is also important to work with an Academic or Career Advisor to learn how to take personal responsibility for all of your course planning decisions. Unfortunately, there is no education-to employment mapping tool that is able to do this for you, but Career Mapping will support you in making an informed decision about all your options.
How does Career Mapping support in-demand occupations in areas like Health & Tech?
Using Career Mapping, students can learn that there are many routes to in-demand occupations from their area of study. For instance, UFV offers Nursing, many science, arts, and professional studies programs that lead to careers in the health sector. This is true for the tech industry as well. You don’t have to study only computers or business to work in the tech industry. The strength in Career Mapping is illustrating the pathways to in-demand occupations from what they are passionate about studying.
How does Career Mapping support Liberal Arts degrees?
It is a myth that a Liberal Arts education leads to no career opportunities. In reality, it is actually the opposite. Arts programs provide students with the key employable skills that employers are seeking. Critical thinking, creativity, problem solving, collaboration and team work, along with communication skills all come from a Liberal Arts education. And these skills are transferable 100s of occupations.
There is significant research that illustrates the need for Liberal Arts grads. For example, Anders’ (2017) book You Can Do Anything: The Surprising Power of a “Useless” Liberal Arts Education, and Hartley’s (2017) book The Fuzzy and the Techie: Why the Liberal Arts Will Rule the Digital World provide numerous occupation and career examples for Liberal Arts grads. However, these authors also point out that faculty and students are completely unaware of the connections between their subjects and the current work world.
Career Mapping shows students both linear and non-linear occupational routes to employment. It’s in the non-linear occupational routes that the Liberal Arts Degree shines.
Does Career Mapping work for high school students?
High school students planning to pursue post-secondary education will find Career Mapping is a huge help. Stats Canada’s report Career Decision-making Patterns of Canadian Youth and Associated Post-secondary Educational Outcomes explains how complex the high school to occupation transition is for youth. Only 9.6% of students or rather 1 in 10 students have the same career expectation at the age of 25 as they did at the age of 15.
Pressure is often put on high school students because they are made to think they must pick their career and “the” program that will get them there. This can be so daunting for students and their parents that decision paralysis sets in and they fear investing in a university education. Career Mapping can greatly reduce this fear by treating finding an occupation as a process of expansion rather than elimination. The idea that finding the right occupational fit before selecting a program is outdated. Using Career Mapping students can see how to gain access to occupations that align to their goals, how to get started and most importantly what options are available to them if they don’t make the “right” selection first. Career Mapping shows students the options and opportunities they have over the life span of their careers.
High school students who understand that post-secondary education will not box them into a career, but will provide them with a variety of employment opportunities will have more confidence and optimism for the future.
Does Career Mapping work for university transfer students?
Absolutely. Actually, one of the biggest surprises with Career Mapping was discovering the wide range of occupational pathways that are attainable through University Transfer Programs. These include Associate of Arts & Science Degrees that offer students a wide range of study areas and that are easy to navigate.
Unfortunately, up until Career Mapping was designed, government organizations overseeing these types of programs have not been able to map specific pathways from university transfer studies to explicit occupational growth. This approach has had the unintended effect of underselling these programs to students. Career Mapping shows students what occupations they are ready for upon the completion of two-year university transfer studies and how over time they can continue to further expand their employability and career options by continuing to build upon their studies.
How can Career Mapping help international students?
Many students today, especially international students, are enrolling in programs based on a linear view of employment or the notion that only certain programs produce strong employment opportunities. Many students are under the impression that only Business or Computer programs will provide them with good paying jobs.
Unfortunately, this strategy is not leading to a good academic fit. Student success comes when a student is able to study in areas that they enjoy, have a keen curiosity for, and have an aptitude for the type the learning environment.
Career Mapping helps to demonstrate how students can study what they are good at and still find employment in in-demand fields. For example, it will demonstrate to students how they can study Arts or Sciences and still work in a Business or Computer sector.
Why does Career Mapping have more occupational profiles than provincial and federal labour market resources?
There are two main reasons.
- Career Mapping has captured emerging occupations that are not yet included in provincial labour market resources. This is because we expanded our research beyond data collected strictly through the five-year lens of the census. Our methodology included data collection from job postings widely advertised in the Canadian job market.
- There are many times when we took the higher level NOC codes and break them into more explicit segments so that end-users have a precise understanding of the post-secondary education and entry-to-practice requirements needed for each occupation.
Why are some occupations not attached to provincial or federal labour market information?
Career Mapping uses the National Occupational Classification (NOC) system as a foundation for its research methodology. However, the NOC is not an exhaustive source for all occupations in Canada. When universities have reported occupations their graduates are doing or our Canadian wide job posting environment scan have produced data to suggest emerging occupations or job titles we have included these to ensure a current lens of occupational options is presented to students. The NOC system is not updated often and many growing occupation titles fall outside of the NOC structure. To provide students with the contextual information that would normally be provided in the NOC we have added a brief occupational description for each occupation without an explicit NOC match. We also encourage students to use the occupation or job title we have provided to search Canada’s major job posting sites.
Is Career Mapping in competition with provincial and federal labour market resources?
No, not at all. In fact, Career Mapping provides direct links to provincial and federal labour market information. Where it is different is that Career Mapping is designed to enhance how labour market information is used and understood. Labour market information works well for showing a linear view of many individual occupational profiles.
However, Career Mapping adds to this view by showing how the same occupational profiles can be navigated in a non-linear way. In doing so it greatly expands how students from different educational backgrounds can use and benefit from these resources.
This difference is substantial. For instance, the traditional outlook of labour market information would show how a student from an Accounting Degree become an accountant. In contrast, Career Mapping demonstrates and explains how a student from any degree program is able to become an accountant.
How is Career Mapping an improvement to graduate outcomes data?
Graduate outcomes data often provides a wide range of potential occupational titles from a specific degree. Often these titles have an asterisk saying more education is needed, but rarely do they say what education is needed or how a student would go about getting the required education, skills or experience. Students are left aware more education is needed, but with no clue how to follow-up.
Career Mapping fills in this missing piece by showing students the post-secondary education and entry-to-practice steps that must be completed to get from their degree to any associated occupations. It takes the mystery out of career planning.