This note analyses the concept 'career management skills' (also called career competencies) in the context of the New Skills Agenda and the undergoing review of the European key competences framework. It gives an overview of policy developments in this area at European and national level including good practices in the fields of education and employment. Further, summarises results from evaluations with a view to evidence of impact. It has been prepared to support the work of the Committees on Employment and Social Affairs, Culture and Education.

Key Findings

  • International policy documents (e.g. EU Council Resolution) and research point to the need to equip individuals with career management skills in order to facilitate orientation in complex education landscapes and labour markets of the 21st century. This concept shifts the focus towards learning outcomes of career interventions, i.e. the ability of an individual to identify own interests and strengths, to relate these to education pathways and the world of work, to collect relevant information, make structured educational and occupational decisions and to implement these.
  • Representatives of education and labour ministries elaborated the concept and a number of tools for implementation in the European Lifelong Guidance Policy Network (2007-2015). Ideally, children and adolescents learn these skills as part of the school curriculum whilst career interventions at VET institutions and universities, at the workplace or in employment services could ensure that existing career competences are assessed and updated or complemented if needed.
  • There exists a growing body  of evidence from  research  that  systematic  and  progressive career guidance  programmes have  a positive  impact on  an individual’s capacity to manage transitions, their learning performance and employment. Further, many countries have developed inspiring practices.
  • Overall, policies to enhance career management skills are at a developmental or initial stage. In recent resolutions on skills policies (2015-2017), the European Parliament sets out that career guidance must be a core element of education and skills policies from an early stage.
  • As way forward at European level, several lines of action could be considered: first, to include career management skills as a key competence into the European Framework of  Key Competences undergoing a review, or at least to systematically integrate these; second, to foster targeted mutual exchange in an own working group in a lifelong guidance perspective and in existing European networks (e.g. Key Competences Network - KeyCoNet; ET2020 working groups, Public Employment Services  network);  third, to promote dedicated projects within Erasmus+ and the European Social Fund.