Academic journal article Career Development Quarterly

The Past, Present, and Future of Career Counseling in Taiwan

Academic journal article Career Development Quarterly

The Past, Present, and Future of Career Counseling in Taiwan

Article excerpt

The development of career counseling in Taiwan during the last 40 years suggests priorities for future development. Although many of the basic constructs of career counseling are used in Taiwan, cultural differences are also apparent. At the earliest stage of career development in Taiwan (1960-1980), career guidance was managed through vocational centers and government agencies. The focus was almost exclusively on school-aged youth seeking employment. At the middle stage (1980-- 1990), the terms for career counseling were being translated into Chinese, and trained Career Counselors were returning from study abroad. The emphasis was primarily on educational systems. At the present stage (1990-present), career counseling was provided to adults outside the school setting and corporations were organizing their own career counseling services. The future presents many conflicts between Western and Asian values, traditional or modern demands, and self or family interests. Technological advances in testing and information sciences provide opportunities and problems for career counselors.

Individuals cannot be separated from their society and the cultural context in which they were born. The self is defined in a relationship of interacting activities and roles that make up each social context. This is especially true in Chinese cultures. In the long process of socialization, the pressure of social changes will naturally influence individuals, as indicated by the major career guidance theories (Blustein & Noumair, 1996; Vondracek, 1992). Parsons (1909) indicated a third step in vocational guidance in which true reasoning is emphasized for matching the situation of an individual with the world of work. Holland's (1985) congruence concept emphasized the person-environment fit matching work satisfaction, job retention, and achievement. In applying these major theories to Taiwan, the counselor needs to be especially aware of the social and cultural context. Discussions of career counseling development in Taiwan describe how changes in the economic, social, and historical context influenced the people of Taiwan to grow and make their own life plan.

The birth and subsequent development of career counseling in the United States has occurred over the last 100 years during times of major societal change (J. M. Brewer, 1942). Taiwan has also experienced rapid social change, especially in the last 40 years. Taiwan's situation, however, has never been compared with the 6-stage development of career counseling in the United States (Pope, 2000). One difficulty of comparison is the short time period of development from 1960 in Taiwan compared with the longer development of career counseling from 1890 to the present in the U.S. Until now, Taiwan has had no official career guidance association nor a published career counseling journal. Nonetheless, career counseling is important in Taiwan. Although Taiwan is an island of 384,000 square miles (about the size of Holland), with a population of 21,979,444 in 1999, Taiwan was ranked as the 15th most productive trade economy in the world (World Trade Organization, 2000) with the third largest foreign exchange reserves (Taiwan Government, 2000).

Industrial development is the key to economic construction, and commerce is the mainstay of economic activities in Taiwan today. According to the recent available data (Taiwan Government, 1996), the number of persons employed full-time in agriculture is down to 10% of the total workforce as part of a gradual decline in that area, while careers in manufacturing have increased and careers in service industries have also increased. By the year 1997, the per capita annual income for Taiwan was over $15,000 U.S., and exports were over $1,000 billion U.S. (Wen, 1998).

Under these conditions, the traditional ways of managing businesses in Taiwan have had to change. Taiwan is facing the challenges of labor shortage, high labor costs, high land costs, and demands to protect the environment. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.