Career counselor’s view of and interpretation of occupations and the process of reproducing the structured labour market

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Career counselor’s view of and interpretation of occupations and the process of reproducing the structured labour market

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Publication Other
Title Career counselor’s view of and interpretation of occupations and the process of reproducing the structured labour market
Author(s) Wikstrand, Frida
Date 2013
English abstract
The labour market is structured by gender and social class. Middle class kids still get middle class jobs and working class kids still let themselves to working class jobs. The gender structured labour market is a known fact in Sweden and abroad. Research shows that gender is the most important factor when choosing an education or occupation. The individual’s social class and the family’s educational background are second most important. Finally the individual’s interests are ranked as third important factor when it comes to occupational choice. At the same time the gender and class coding of occupation structure witch jobs individuals sees as possible. Educational and career counseling is often cited by politicians as something that can affect individual’s choices and possibly the structure of the labour market. How counselor’s view, interpret and talk about different occupations in the meeting with pupils of different background is therefore interesting. The aim of this paper is to analyse how education and career counselors, working in Swedish senior high school, view and interpret different occupations and how this comprehension affects how they describe and talk about the occupation in the counseling interview with pupils. The study draws upon 14 qualitative interviews with educational and career counselors in the Swedish senior high school throughout the country. The selection of schools was based on the following criteria: Private/public, vocational/academic, schools with low /high status. The purpose was to meet counselors whom worked with pupils from different backgrounds. The interviews focused on whether and how the counselors use the occupational descriptions produced by the Swedish Public Employment Service (Arbetsförmedlingen), if they see them as neutral or with bias such as gender and/or social class. The analysis shows that educational and career counselors divide occupations into different categories such as practical/theoretical, working with people/ working with technology. Putting these two dichotomies into a four-field model the options of jobs becomes narrow. The group uses different occupational descriptions to expand the perspective of the pupil. However the widening is within the group of dichotomies in the four-field. This way of looking at and constructing different occupations, by simplifying the content through dichotomies as mentioned above, does not broaden the perspective of pupils but guide them within what they already see as possible and thereby reproduce the structures marked by social class and gender at the labour market. In the educational and career counseling interview the career guidance materials, and how this material is organized and used, becomes a part of this process.
Language eng (iso)
Subject(s) career counselling
social class
broadening perspectives
Humanities/Social Sciences
Research Subject Categories::SOCIAL SCIENCES
Note International Labour Process Conference 2013. Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA. 20130318-20130320
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