Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Changing Lives and the need for a new paradigm #4

In the current brief series looking at reasons why a new approach to career management and development is a necessity, I will post some thoughts on how Changing Lives are adding fuel to this fire! Welcome back – I sincerely hope today’s posting will be of some benefit to everyone. As before, the Integrative Life Planning (ILP) perspective will form the basis of these ideas.

With the obvious danger of sounding to obvious, I think we would be hard-pressed to find someone who is able to say that their lives today are the same as before…that change, on whatever scale, has not affected their lives. Yes, there are the obvious systemic changes we have mentioned before, which include the impact of economic meltdown, migration patterns, work-life patterns, and so on; we also need to remember changes in history, religion, and political systems as reasons for change we are also experiencing.

One key area of change reported on from the ILP framework, is the way in which the roles of and relationships between men and women are changing. A prime example can be found in the increased participation rates of women in the workforce today. According to the South Africa Survey (2009 – 2010) the number of females in top management positions in South Africa has increased from 12.4% in 2000 to a figure of 17.8% in 2008. Considering the same as above for senior managers, the country has seen an increase from 21% in 2008 to 27.8% in 2008. Debates on how to increase this rate are commonplace; for the purpose of our discussion the data serves to support the notion that changes in political systems, economics, and demographics, are impacting directly on the lives of people.

Let’s take a further look at some further data by the same source. According to the 2009/2010 edition of the South Africa Survey (published by the South African Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR)), the overall percentage of economically active people in South Africa has, on average, increased by 3.1% from 2001 – 2010. In the last year, however (2009 – 2010), the participation rate was seen to decline by 4%!

On a global level, these changes in people’s lives are also recorded. It is not at all uncommon to find literature stating that men are spending more time at home, taking care of their families and related responsibilities. To summarise, the ILP approach has identified the convergence between family and work roles in the context of change we have been talking about for a while in this blog.

Let us briefly turn our attention to stating that the previous career development and management models are clearly not able to offer sufficient direction to individuals who need to function within the changing context, especially as we have reported today in terms of Changing Lives. As a new paradigm, ILP is offering a framework within which these changing lives of people can be addressed.

Due to changing lives, the approach career management professionals have to take, should also be reconsidered. Apart from (only) selecting a suitable career, career professionals are also required to offer assistance to both individuals and organisations in terms of managing areas such as conflict, building mutual respect, re-establishing the required work-life balance, and to also address existing stereotypes.

The above-mentioned data serves to support the notion that changing lives require changing approaches to career development and management; the obsolete models of career counselling can in no way be used to offer appropriate guidance to individuals experiencing these changes on a daily basis.

The next blog will contain some thoughts on how changing organisations and workplaces require a new paradigm to career management and development.

(Based on the work of Sunny Hansen: Integrative Life Planning: Critical Tasks for Career Development and Changing Life PatternsDescription:

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