At present, diversity concerns are considered important to recognize the advancement of a person’s career and the decision-making process. In the United States of America, for example, diversity has rapidly increased in history, meaning that 36,2% reflects the overall number of people of color in the world, in accordance with the US census of 2011. Furthermore, the 2011 Gallus study revealed that 3.4% of the total number of people residing in the United States are gay, transgender, lesbian or bisexual and 32.8% are physically disabled or have disabilities in America (National Health Survey, 2011). Therefore, as the population continues to increase in the US, career counselors or professionals are urged to be highly receptive to the requirements of this varying population.
Key words:culture, population, career.
Culturally Diverse Population
When dealing with diversity issues, the discussion should not be restricted to only race and ethnicity but should explore all issues (Leong, 2010). Career professionals or counselors should equally be familiarized with other aspects that influence career development in various ways, and they may include; socio-economic status, gender, ability status, social orientation as well as their communal and structural aspects.
According to Leong, over the years development of career and its approaches have fallen under criticism for its inappropriateness to the diverse population. Studies have shown microscopic information about career development issue for this group of population (Kerka, 2003). Nonetheless, in the United States of America, diversity in culture is a matter of life. Practitioners of career development, the society, and the labor force must be prepared to work with customers or individuals accordingly making sure they are sensitive to the different cultures.
Even though people and other distinct groups have different background and experiences, there are related career issues that culturally diverse people encounter. Their choice of career is influenced by socialization, having information on leadership and evaluation, getting into particular job areas, community and self-stigmatization, segregation from networks, and experiences of going to school early. Obstacles to development of one’s career are related to the lack of people who will give guidance and direction and a life coach, the lack of access to training, favoritism in job elevation/transfer, enmity, depression and imposing oneself to performance pressure.
Several conventional theories of career development are usually based on the Western perceptions and the suppositions of the middle-class people (Anderson, Peila-Shuster, & Aragon, 2012). They include, 1) emphasizing on individualism and self-sufficiency 2) certainty that every individual has time and resources to explore careers, 3) supposition that barriers do not exist and chances are accessible to every person working hard, and 4) development linearity. Thus, career counselors should not disregard the cultural perspective of people as it will be irrelevant.
Influences on the Career Development of Diverse Groups
The process of career development is centered on customary individual-environment suitable theories that are involved in recognizing a person’s abilities, skills, and welfares. This is because issues of diversity are believed to be vital in comprehending a person’s career development as well as the process of making a decision. It also helps recognize theories that understand a person’s character, standards, and doctrines and then match these variables with suitable possible careers. Scholars have also scrutinized other aspects that affect the choice of career of varied people so as to augment the significance of these models and theories. According to McMahon, Patton & Watson (2005), these elements are comprised of views of the world, context, values, and identity.
Factors that influence the development of Career in Diverse Groups
Views of the World; the views of the world or the manner in which the worldview things are important in differentiating features of cultural groups. For instance, when the dissimilarities between African’s collaboration and communal are compared with European’s individuality and competition it is quickly noted how the relationship between the two groups influences the career conduct of African-Americans. For the Native Americans, the facets of their world view that affect career development include the sense of place and family or societal alignment. Similar to several Hispanic Americans, the Latinas manifest a communist/ancestral worldview.
Identity; many aspects form an identity. They include a person’s self-definition, group identification, and gender identity. The identity of a group is significant in career development because:
Group characteristics are vital constituents of self-concept for many individuals
Recognizing and preserving group characteristics is of importance to some people
Group characteristics are influential in the manner in which people relate to each other.
For instance, in universities with both blacks and whites, African American women work hard in their studies to be at par with Americans by creating positive images of self-definition and by recognizing themselves as black women as well as adopting the life of both cultures. This makes them excel in American education. In this case, racial identity theory portrays a range of self-definition that range from conformism to discord, consciousness, and resistance (Anderson, Peila-Shuster & Aragon, 2012). Cultural identity, therefore, predicts foreclosure of choosing a career, self-efficacy that is related to career, and the capability of using bicultural tactics to manage two cultural settings. Even if biculturalism may tend to be a real surviving tool, it can equally cause stress especially if a person is the only one living in that different culture. For instance, the study on ethnic groups of Asian-American students indicated that the identity range stimulated the kind of careers they treasured and the point at which their career choice met (Kerka, 2003). Therefore, it can be concluded that the career routes of non-Americans can be comprehended by understanding the psychological differences in the ethnic and cultural group identification.
Acculturation is an additional variable of within-group identities. Acculturation is the extent to which people take part in adopting the secondary principles of the dominant society (Leong, 2010). It responds to issues about shifting, metamorphosis, integration or resistance. Therefore, social resistances impede development while appreciating all cultures positively affects career objectives. Anderson, et al. (2012) alleged that there are three phases of acculturation and they include; westernized cultures, bicultural or traditional those that are either implementers or obstacles of career development.
Values; Values such as those related to work, culture, and individual, have an effect on career choice, decision making, and development. As a result of this, researchers propose the need for a comprehensive theory of career choice that center on values (Kerka, 2003; Patton & McMahon, 2006). Their argument is that there is a substantial range of value systems of individuals from a similar ethnic group and those held by individuals from diverse ethnic groups. Hence, students studying in foreign countries to excel in their education had to be optimistic and determined to assimilate their own ethnic values with their profession choices and accomplishments.
Context; this is where the influence of the exterior setting or the structure of the opportunity could be observed, i.e., a person’s experience, and apprehensions might lead to very enthusiastic or unenthusiastic attitude towards opportunities. Kerka (2003) highlights some of the contextual obstacles and resources that affect career-related education include:
i) Exterior barriers such as insecure milieu, inadequate income, discrimination and negative collective support;
ii) Interior barriers such as perception of equivalent opportunities, negative self-efficacy, and negative educational performance;
iii) Exterior resources such as ethnic and communal support as well as role models;
iv) Interior resources such as surviving efficacy and bicultural capability.
Moreover, non-Americans do not vary from the dominants in career development ambitions and interests. However, they are inclined to low work-related prospects as a result of interior defies such as lack of opportunity, poor self-knowledge due to few opportunities for job know-how as well as insufficient chances to advance self-efficacy. On the other side, they might experience exterior hardships such as environmental aspects that weaken the value of life, poor quality education as well as prejudice and typecasting in the quantity and kind of counseling received.
According to Arthur & McMahon (2005), the theory that tries to integrate all contextual aspects comprising culture is known as the System Theory Framework (SFT) for career development. System Theory Framework demonstrates the self-motivated nature of career development by accepting the factors of culture that are pertinent to the person. In this case, the counselor is concerned about comprehending the creation of individual connotation of career and leading career influencers. This allows us to recognize and explore complex and unified systems in which people participate. This includes important inspirations that interrelate to influence career development. The impacts can be intrapersonal, for example, dogmas, health and gender or contextual. This may also comprise of a combination of distinct systems like social (i.e., place of work, friends family) or ecological. Including all these impacts is the context of time and the know-how as well as events of opportunity.
The theory also permits that career experts comprehend a person’s cultural diversity of different levels and offer solutions to customers to examine themselves and their career development via earlier, present and upcoming wishes and familiarities. Arthur &Collins (2011) and Lee (2012) argue that there are some parts that may be amalgamated instantly into the right practice.
Systems of Influence on Career Development
According to Patton & McMahon (2006), the System Theory Framework gives an outline of influences on career development. The word “influence” was purposely selected by the designers of the STF as a self-motivated revealing term that shows both procedure and content elements of career theory. In addition to that, the word “influence” equally does not adopt positive or negative meanings; instead, it manages to offer people the opportunities of assigning private connotation to the influences. For instance, people might see influences as obstacles to their career development and might also see fluctuating gradations of influence i.e. nominal or central (Lee, 2012). Therefore, people are fortified to intricate their private connotation around cultures in conjunction with their system of influence.
Theories of content; the influences of content include intrapersonal variables like age and behavior while contextual variables include communal influences like social or environmental like the physical location as well as family influences (Kerka, 2003; Patton & McMahon, 2006).
Theories of a process; process influences include three significant deliberations for multiracial career counseling. The first procedure influence is the recursive collaboration in the personal and the context (McMahon, Patton & Watson, 2005). The second procedure influence stresses on how recursive collaboration adds to the micro procedure of career decision-making and the micro procedure of alteration over time. The third procedure influences the symbolized opportunity.
Theories of content and process; it is the theory that analyses both content i.e. behaviors of a person and the context, as well as the process such as the development of people and the manner in which they interact (Patton & McMahon, 2006). Thus, it is significant to know that the process and content influences are found in the context of time to include past, present and future contemplation in the clients’ career development.
Interactions between Systems in Understanding People’s Career Development
The character of System Theory Framework is illustrated by the influence of one system on another (Patton & McMahon, 2006). Social Theory Framework is dynamic in nature, and therefore it illustrates how one system impacts another system. Other systems have been characterized as to give an account of the content that impacts the social theory framework changing nature that happens in and among systems is considered as the process that leads to a creativeness of diversity over time and contingent. The System Theory Framework gives an overview for perceiving the roots of career counseling and the problems that it is facing today.
Career counseling is an exclusive area that has been founded by career and counseling theories. In the ancient days, career theory focused on particular distinct aspects that are related to a person’s character in a career (Lee, 2012). The individual system is the core within which system theory framework has derived diverse intrapersonal impacts on the development of a career, like sex orientation, skills gender, and personality. Many of these influences have been applauded by the theorist of career development though others have not.
Career development has not been understood in the theoretical content because of other factors that impact its influences like political choices and geographic locations though their consequences on career development are felt. The central thing to getting the concepts of Social Theory Framework is that it is assumed that every system is a transparent system. An accessible system is prone to control from without and also may lead to influencing systems that are beyond its borders. These relations are called creativeness in the Social Theory Framework, which is always shown by dotted lines that stand for pliability of borders of each system. It has been agreed that influences on a person are dynamic over time. The last process influence, an opportunity is shown in diagrammatically as lightning beams which reflect a heightened awareness of the place where chance comes in career development.
Cultural influences should be identified as twisted into career development with the salience of these influences frequently changing over context and time. Career development practices should address and examine the numerous cultural systems and characteristics. Once people have a complete comprehension about the characteristics, then they can go ahead and comprehend the distinctive experiences of clients, issues and allegations in conjunction with a person’s career development, decision-making, career ambitions and self-efficacy. This will enable effective support to customers by recognizing, being adapted to and getting rid of the barriers of career.
Career professionals should, therefore, identify people’s expertise and moral responsibility to address the practiced culture so as to continue being pertinent. Career development has not been understood in the theoretical content because of other factors that impact its influences like political choices and geographic locations though their consequences on career development are felt. The central thing to getting the concepts of Social Theory Framework is that it is assumed that every system is a transparent system. This implies that, the choice of career is influenced by socialization, having information on leadership and evaluation, getting into particular job areas, community and self-stigmatization, segregation from networks, and experiences of going to school early.
On the other hand, there is a need to add an environmental perception that identifies that every individual function in an extraordinary environment that consists of many aspects of relational and wider socio-cultural scopes. Hence, being extremely attentive to diversity matters in career development does not imply assuming discrepancies or exaggerating stereotypes. Cultural proficient experts identify the methods and reasons that make people’s career-related know-hows dissimilar and contemplate outside their ethnic edges of references in helping individuals with career development. Therefore, it can be clearly concluded that the career development of non-Americans or foreigners living in foreign countries can be comprehended by understanding the psychological differences in their ethnic and cultural group of their origin. By doing this, people will be in a better position to amalgamate their cultures with those of others for easy identification of career development.
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