Career Development

Law (1981) states that, ‘Theories of career development are attempts to describe, explain and predict what happens. Theories of guidance are attempts to think how we can sensibly intervene in what happens’, Career development theory provides a framework for helping with a client’s career problem’ (Sharf, 2010). For the purposes of this assignment the focus will be on three career guidance theories and how these theories may or may not meet the modern needs of diverse clients and an ever changing social and economic environment. The career guidance theories are: Developmental, Trait & Factor and Opportunity Structures.


Career Development – Career Guidance Theory

Why is Theory Important?


Lewin (1951) stated that there is, ‘nothing so practical as a good theory’, having recently taken Egan’s (2002) three-stage model for career guidance into a second level school, the proof that a solid theory can transfer into a business or practical environment is first hand. Egan’s model provided me the career guidance practitioner with structure, proven method and professional confidence and reassurance. Egan’s three stage model appeared to apply directly to working practice and is recognised as a seminal structure within career guidance delivery in England’s career services centres and academia. Theories are useful if they help us to interpret careers, seeing them in ways which, without the theory, would remain invisible to us (Watts, et al, 1996, p41). For practitioners, policy makers and others interested in improving or justifying professional career guidance, good theories provide ways through which to evaluate and amend provision and practice (Hodkinson, 2008). However, Watts strikes a warning when he goes on to say that theories may blind us to what lies beyond their scope (Watts, et al, 1996, p41).


For Reference Details, contact diarmuid at:


Diarmuid Haughian

MA Career Guidance, QCG

Career Development

Career Development