Career Guidance As A Social Problem


The issues of choosing a profession are relevant at all times since professional self-determination is key not only in terms of future employment but also for the self-actualization of the individual. The need for self-actualization, in accordance with Maslow's pyramid of needs, is the ultimate goal of human behaviour, upon reaching which a person will be able to reveal his inner potential and develop his talents. However, at present, there is a problem of contradiction between the demand for a particular profession in the labour market and the professional self-determination of students in general education schools. Every year, the problems of sociological research aimed at studying the value orientations of students in schools, factors of socialization and socio-professional orientation of Russian youth are actualized. The purpose of this study is to analyze vocational guidance as a social problem in the context of the formation of human resources in Russia. The methods used in the course of the study are a review of scientific sources, analysis of statistical data and secondary analysis of sociological research data. The results of the study are to identify contradictions between professional orientation and professional self-determination, as well as between the existing needs of the professional sphere and the established attitudes, desires and aspirations of modern Russian youth.

Keywords: Career guidance, education, labor market, self-determination, social problem


At the present stage of the development of Russian society, there is a socio-economic transformation, as a result of which the needs of the labour market and the requirements for the qualifications of specialists of different levels are constantly changing. Based on the constant changes in the labour market, schools and higher educational institutions are faced with the task of increasing the effectiveness of vocational guidance activities - helping schoolchildren in determining their future profession, based on their characteristics. In addition, students of secondary schools are poorly informed about the current state of the labour market, and they cannot always find the necessary information to solve the issue of professional self-determination. The situation is complicated by the conflict between the needs of the labour market and the established attitudes of school leavers: students of the 11th grade of secondary schools often choose their future speciality based on which subjects are easier to pass on the unified state exam, or in which speciality (direction) it is easier to study, in their opinion. Therefore, to make a correct and balanced decision about choosing your future profession, it is extremely important to get expert advice; such counselling is career guidance (Ponyavina, 2018).

Problem Statement

Modern socio-economic conditions of Russian society have a significant impact on the professional orientation of graduates of secondary schools. At the same time, there is a need to overcome the contradictions between the existing needs of the professional sphere and the established attitudes, aspirations and desires of young people. We have already paid attention to the issues of professional self-determination of young people in our research (Turkulets & Gorovaya, 2019). At the same time, one should turn to the existing problems associated precisely with the effectiveness of vocational guidance for young people, since the latter largely determines the process of choosing a future profession by an applicant. The practical significance of solving the problem of vocational guidance for graduates of secondary general education schools is manifested in the fact that it is necessary to identify the needs of the professional sphere about labour human resources both at the state level and at the level of individual constituent entities of the Russian Federation, and even cities, and to identify and correlate the needs of young people in the future professional self-realization in the conditions of their uncertainty in their professional future. A necessary measure to solve the problem is the development of an effective set of career-oriented activities.

In this regard, the role of effective interaction of secondary schools, educational organizations of secondary vocational education and educational organizations of higher education is increasing to create conditions for identifying the professional interests and inclinations of students, supporting them in further successful socialization in society and adaptation to the labour market so that the choice of a future profession does not become spontaneous and unreasonable. We agree with the opinion of scientists that schoolchildren's ideas about the hierarchy of professions are largely determined by public images of professions or types of employment. The difficulties of studying are associated with the peculiarities of the modern stage of development of post-Soviet societies - the rejection of directive state-planned regulation of employment and the formation of a labour market based on flexible, sometimes spontaneous, demands of capitalism (Valitova et al., 2016).

Research Questions

The subject of the study is professional orientation and professional self-determination of secondary school students.

Purpose of the Studу

The purpose of the research is to analyze professional orientation as a social problem in the context of the formation of human resources in Russia.

The objectives of the study are:

1) to clarify the content of career guidance in modern conditions;

2) to identify the contradictions of professional orientation and professional self-determination;

3) to identify contradictions between the existing needs of the professional sphere and the established attitudes, desires and aspirations of young people.

Traditionally, vocational guidance is understood as a scientifically grounded system of socio-economic, psychological and pedagogical, medico-biological and production-technical measures to provide youth with personality-oriented assistance in identifying and developing abilities and aptitudes, professional and cognitive interests in choosing a profession, as well as shaping the need and readiness to work in a market environment, multi-structure forms of ownership and entrepreneurship (Zeer et al., 2004)

Research Methods

Numerous studies are devoted to the study of the problems of professional orientation. The article is mostly of a review nature, therefore, the main method that was used in the course of the study is the method of analysis, systematization and generalization. In the course of the study, statistical data on the demand for young professionals with higher education were studied, factors of successful employment were considered, the results of employment monitoring were studied both at the country level and the level of regions, cities and specific universities. The statistical method is used (for the analysis and generalization of statistical data of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, the Federal State Statistics Service), as well as the method of secondary sociological analysis. The article actualizes the problem of the effectiveness of school graduates professional orientation as one of the important problems of modern society.


Literature review

Professional self-determination is central to the socialization of young people. The choice of a profession is based on knowledge and understanding of the content of the professional activity, which largely determines the social status of an individual. The division of labour has led to a variety of types of work activities, which complicates the choice of profession. The sociology of professions is one of the leading areas of Western and Russian sociology, which has its theoretical tradition and research methodology. The beginning of this line of research was laid in the late XIX-early XX century by researchers who revealed the role of professions in complex industrialized societies. Of great importance was the work of Emile Durkheim "On the division of social labour" (Durkheim, 1996), in which professions were considered as an important social institution. The main function of this institute was to maintain positive social norms and patterns of behaviour. A certain contribution to the sociology of professions was made by Weber (1990), who showed the specifics of the professional work of a scientist and a politician, determined the place of professionals in the social structure of society. Parsons (1966) showed considerable interest in the study of occupational groups, who organically inscribed occupational structure in the theory of social systems. Parsons considered professional relations as an important link in the reproduction of the social system and analysed the behaviour of professional groups using theoretical categories of social action. This emphasized the institutional aspect in the understanding of professional relations. Currently, the sociology of professions responds vividly to economic, technological and social changes, structural transformations of the world of work and professional activity in modern society.

The analysis of the problem of the correlation between the requirements of the labour market and the choice of the future profession of graduates of secondary schools is the subject of discussion by scientists of various fields. In the course of the study of the problem of professional orientation of young people, domestic and foreign sources were analysed. It should be pointed out that there is a certain theoretical and methodological basis for the study of career guidance in modern socio-humanitarian studies. Among the most authoritative researchers of this problem in the world are:

1) USA - F. Parsons, D. Super, J. Holland and others; methodological support of career guidance activities are currently carried out by the National Career Development Association (NCDA);

2) Great Britain - G. Egan, K. Roger, D. Barrett, D. Williams and others;

3) France - J. Piaget; the vocational guidance system is managed by the National Bureau of Information on Education and Profession (ONISEP);

4) Japan - S. Fukuyama;

5) Russia - S.N. Chistyakova, E.A. Klimov, N.S. Pryazhnikov (Dianina, 2017).

One of the Russian scientists investigating the problem of a professional orientation is Chistyakova (2018). In her works, she explores the historical aspects of the development of vocational guidance, the problems and prospects of vocational guidance of schoolchildren, typical mistakes in choosing professions, mechanisms and risks. It is impossible not to agree with the author that professional self-determination is the process of forming a person's attitude to the professional and labour sphere and a way of its self-realization, achieved through the coordination of intrapersonal and socio-professional needs (Chistyakova, 2018). In other words, the correct definition of the future profession by schoolchildren is based on the personal qualities of the student and the basis of the requirements and needs of society. In his work, Chistyakova (2018) emphasizes that an indicator of the effectiveness and efficiency of social interaction between the labour market and the vocational education system is the awareness of educational organizations on the demand for professions, employers' requests to reduce the risk of future possible unemployment among graduates.

Kostrova (2021) in her study compares the training system and the vocational guidance system in Russia and other countries. The main idea is to teach students practical skills based on enterprises. Thus, the author considers the introduction of professional training courses, starting from secondary school, to be an effective tool. Kostrova (2021) emphasizes that there is a problem in the discrepancy between the demand for specialists of certain professions and the graduation from professional educational institutions of specialists of other professions.

Shafranov-Kutsev et al. (2018), who conducted a study of vocational guidance practices in the context of globalization, emphasized that vocational guidance activities should be carried out primarily at the school level. Thus, school graduates will be able to obtain information about the world of professions through their participation in "labour tests", in excursions (both direct and virtual), in meetings with representatives of various enterprises and institutions. The authors also study the international experience in the development of vocational guidance systems and propose to introduce federal platforms to provide information and advisory support (Shafranov-Kutsev et al., 2018).

Zeer (2014) identified objective and subjective factors that determine the professional future of students. The author considers post-industrial society to be objective (external) factors (an increase in the share of employment in the field of information and services, constant changes in living conditions, instability); received professional education (a large number of graduates who cannot get a job in their speciality); lack of a scientifically based career guidance system (the current career guidance system does not meet the constantly changing socio-economic conditions). Subjective factors include the uncertainty of the professional future; inconsistency of the motives of a person and the world of professions; mismatch of desires and capabilities of a person. The listed subjective factors may not be realized by a person (Zeer, 2014).

Symanyuk et al. (2019), as a result of a survey of students aged 15-16 years, came to the following conclusions:

1) for the majority of students, the values of professional self-realization are not a priority;

2) the largest number of respondents take a passive position in terms of choosing a future profession, i.e., agree with what parents and peers offer them.

A scientific article by Bykov and Nastina (2020) is devoted to the problem of the relationship between value attitudes and career achievements of young people. Based on the analysis of theoretical research and empirical data, the authors argue that value orientations are a decisive factor when choosing a career path for young people. Agreeing with the opinion of scientists, we add that this is typical not only for graduates of universities and secondary vocational educational institutions. It is obvious that values such as "reputation and power" play a significant role in the process of choosing a future speciality by school graduates on the threshold of university admission.

A very interesting approach to the issues of early career guidance is offered by Ivanova (2019), who studies the problems of vocational guidance for preschool children. Her proposed method of career guidance work may well be applied to students of secondary schools. We are talking about targeted career guidance related to such a set of professions that are most in-demand at present in the labour market. According to the researcher, it is targeted career guidance for specific professions that are particularly in demand at present and are promising in the future that should be a priority in the system of building career guidance work with young people (Ivanova, 2019).

Among the researchers of the problems of personnel shortage in the regions in connection with the issues of professional self-organization of young people is Urban (2018), who studies demographic processes that have a significant impact on the admission campaigns of regional universities. The sociologist argues that to attract the most prepared and career-oriented applicants to training, it is necessary to increase the competitive potential of regional universities based on institutional measures.

Thus, analysing various theoretical and practical studies, we can draw the following conclusions:

1) the problem of vocational guidance is closely related and, ultimately, has a serious impact on the unemployment rate among young people, as well as on the labour market as a whole;

2) the existing set of career guidance measures is not effective enough, since it is often devoid of practical orientation, i.e., direct acquaintance of students with the world of future professions, and the set of career guidance measures also does not take into account the real needs of society;

3) career guidance and aspirations of high school students, as a rule, do not coincide with the demands of the labour market, since they are mostly due to the desire to pass the Unified State Exam as easily as possible and link their future with a not very difficult, but at the same time well-paid profession;

4) many students at school age still do not think about choosing a future profession, are poorly oriented in matters of professional self-determination, but are ready to listen to outside opinion.

Statistical data

Currently, there is a shortage of personnel in society. The current state of the labour market indicates that a large number of specialists with professional and higher education remain unemployed or their type of activity does not correspond to the speciality. According to the official data of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP), the personnel shortage and the lack of qualified personnel are among the most acute problems today. According to the RSPP report on the state of the business climate in 2020, 56.4% of respondents stated that there are not enough qualified workers in the labour market. There is also a shortage of specialists of the highest level of professional qualifications (43.9%) and the average level of professional qualifications (34.8%) (Report ..., 2020). It's no secret that school graduates prefer economic and humanitarian specialities and areas. At the same time, there are practically no vacancies in these professions.

The above data correlate with the official statistics of the Federal State Statistics Service. According to a sample survey of the labour force in 2020 (correspondence of the work of employed graduates in 2017-2019), the speciality obtained in the educational organization of higher education is not related to the work of employed graduates in 30% of cases, and the speciality obtained in the educational organization of secondary vocational education, - in 42% of cases (Vyborochnoye..., 2020).

According to the results of the analysis of official statistics data, some scientists argue that most of those who changed their first job is among the most massive groups who received specialities in economics and management, education and pedagogy, as well as in the humanities (Cherednichenko, 2018, 2020).

The studies conducted by the Russian Academy of Education show that about 50% of high school students do not correlate the choice of profession with their real capabilities; 46% rely on the authority of their parents when solving this issue; 67% have no idea about the content of work duties, the performance of which is assumed within the chosen speciality for continuing education (Chistyakova, 2015). As noted above, often the determining factors in choosing a future speciality for graduates are difficulties in passing individual Unified State Exams (for example, specialized mathematics, physics) and the content of the educational process in the chosen speciality at the university (so that the set of disciplines is as easy as possible to master).

The effectiveness of career guidance is of particular importance in regions such as the Far East, where the shortage of qualified personnel is becoming an insurmountable obstacle to further development. The issue of professional self-determination of schoolchildren and their orientation towards building a career trajectory in their native regions is especially relevant (Simakova, 2019).

Thus, we can conclude that the shortage of qualified specialists in the labour market is directly related to the ineffectiveness of vocational guidance, which is confirmed by the employment of graduates, not in the speciality received in the educational organization of higher education and secondary vocational education. In addition, there is a discrepancy between the choice of future specialities by school graduates and professions demanded by society.


The need to develop and identify individual abilities and talents among graduates of secondary schools is of key importance. The main purpose of career guidance is to identify these abilities, as well as to familiarize students with the most popular professions, working conditions, basic requirements for candidates, positive and negative sides of professions, opportunities for further career growth.

In the organization of career guidance work, there is no holistic concept, coordinated efforts of social institutions, ranging from sectoral/regional forecasting and labour market planning to career guidance educational work of the school (Selivanova, 2017). Improving the career guidance system in higher education institutions will allow high school students and potential applicants to identify their preferences and interests regarding their future profession, effectively plan their future career upon completion of training.

As the study shows, the difficulties of professional self-determination of high school students are primarily associated with the asymmetric position of the labour market and the market of educational services.

Based on the conducted research, it is possible to determine the following key factors and conditions that can increase the effectiveness of vocational guidance of students of secondary schools:

1) the need to expand cooperation of schools with educational organizations of higher and secondary vocational education, as well as with enterprises and institutions experiencing a shortage of personnel;

2) strengthening the profile training of schoolchildren;

3) familiarization of students not only with future professions but also with the technology of building a professional career.

Currently, there are many ways of interaction between educational organizations and enterprises: job fairs, open days, scientific and practical conferences involving professionals from various fields and fields of activity, employers' participation in the educational process, and others. The main task of implementing such forms of interaction is to provide students with the opportunity to learn about the internal environment of the organization, get acquainted with the organizational culture, the main functions performed by specialists of various profiles.

We believe that the most correct, from the point of view of the content of career guidance as a social problem, is the following definition of professional orientation - a system of scientifically based measures aimed at preparing young people to choose a profession, taking into account the characteristics of the individual and the socio-economic situation on the labour market, to assist young people in professional self-determination and employment through vocational education, professional counselling and psychological support.


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Turkulets, S. E., Chubiy, M. V., & Turkulets, A. V. (2022). Career Guidance As A Social Problem. In N. G. Bogachenko (Ed.), AmurCon 2021: International Scientific Conference, vol 126. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 1004-1012). European Publisher.