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Career guidance and counseling in Shanghai, China: 1977 to 2015.

This article presents 4 stages in the development of career guidance and counseling in education settings in Shanghai, People's Republic of China, from 1977 (after the Cultural Revolution) to 2015, with an economic-political perspective. In the 1st stage (1977-1992), job allocation was implemented by the government as a mandatory regulation to meet the pressing demands for trained professionals in various industries. In the 2nd stage (1993-1999), job allocation was replaced by vocational guidance as a service. In the 3rd stage (2000-2011), there was a growth in career education, mainly in colleges. The 4th stage (2012-2015) witnessed the boom of career counseling with the focus transferring to secondary schools. This article ends with a discussion of the future model of career guidance and counseling in Shanghai.


Career guidance and counseling, as an industry including all services related to career or career development, aims to meet social changes and challenges (Pope, 2000). Over the past decades, China has experienced profound reforms in its economic structure, labor market, education, and technology. As one of the most developed metropolises, Shanghai witnessed a full cycle of career counseling implementation, from its initial emergence in 1917, to the reorientation after the founding of the People's Republic of China, to the abandonment during the 10-yearlong Cultural Revolution, to the reemergence of career guidance and counseling from 1977 onward (Zhang, 1998; Zhang, Hu, & Pope, 2002). In this article, we review the rebirth and subsequent development of career guidance and counseling in education settings in Shanghai since 1977 from an economic-political perspective. Our review draws on government documents, the writings of government officers, and our previous work done in the area of career guidance and counseling aimed to promote the development of the industry.

Since 1977, different terms have been used in government documents and educational settings in Shanghai to indicate career guidance and counseling, representing varied understandings at different times. These terms transformed from job allocation (1977-1992) to vocational guidance (1993-1999) to career education (2000-2011) and to the current use of career counseling (2012-2015). It is interesting that these terms are distributed on a continuum, representing fully regulated government arrangement at one end and choices of individuals at the opposite end. Job allocation emphasizes the states' will and is closer to the idea of government arrangement. In contrast, career counseling emphasizes personal choices and is closer to the other end of the continuum. Vocational guidance and career education lie between the two. Although these terms indicate varying levels of governmental control and individual choice, it is important to view them as related, reflecting an evolutionary progression in the field of career guidance and counseling in China.

First Stage: Job Allocation (1977-1992)

Affected by the socialist and centralized nature of the Chinese government, the planned economy, and the preceding upheaval of the Cultural Revolution, career guidance and counseling was rebirthed in the form of an administrative regulation called job allocation. This regulation meant that the government was responsible for allocating jobs to college or vocational school graduates, and individuals were obligated to abide by the government's arrangements and to contribute to building a socialist society (Zhang et ah, 2002). On the one hand, job allocation matched the socialist ideal and communist description that "each individual has a job." On the other hand, the regulation overly emphasized state interests, collective interests, and socialist construction. Personal interests were largely ignored or sacrificed.

The core of a planned economy is the word planned. The centralized government makes plans for practically every field of the society, including the production and consumption of products and the allocation of various resources. The Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) resulted in a shortage of talents and skilled workers in almost every profession. For example, the supply-demand ratios in some industries were as high as 1:8 to 1:10 (Wang, 2010). To quickly relieve the demands for professionals in industries, the Chinese government planned the admission of college and vocational schools, as well as job placement of their graduates.

The Third Plenary Session of the 11th Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party, held in 1978, had far-reaching implications for China (Xinhua Net, 2011). The meeting decided that "socialist modernization" should become the focus of the Chinese Communist Party. The Chinese economy began to transform from a planned economy to a market economy. During the 1980s, Shanghai's development strategy was characterized by technological advancement, product upgrading, and service industry development. Therefore, Shanghai's development called for a large number of trained professionals.

At the end of the Cultural Revolution, dramatic changes in educational settings followed. In 1977, college entrance examinations were restored. In 1981, Shanghai had the first college graduates for job allocation. As China's economy transformed from a planned to a market economy, the policy of job allocation went through three stages: mandatory allocation, job allocation with the supplement of demand-supply meeting, and employers-graduates meeting with the supplement of job allocation (Wang, 2010).

In the initial stage, an allocation plan was made by a task force, comprising officers from the Planning Commission, the Higher Education Bureau, and the Bureau of Personnel. An allocation plan was computed simply based on the number of graduates and the demands of the various employers (mainly state-owned enterprises). Job placement officers at respective colleges executed the plan. Employers and graduates had no choice but to accept the mandatory allocation. Often, employers and graduates would not meet before the graduates started working. This rigid allocation worked well in the early stage, partly due to the emphasis that graduates should be assigned to positions matching their majors. Therefore, the pressure of talents shortage was relieved in a short time. However, problems appeared when the needs or preferences of the graduates did not match the requirements or environments of the work.

From 1983 to 1987, as the planned economy was slowly transforming into a planned economy supplemented by market mechanisms, the job placement system was also turning into mandatory allocation supplemented by demand-supply meeting. In 1983, a National University graduates job assignment meeting called for reforms to the job assignment system. In response, Shanghai put forward effective measures, including allowing employers and universities to meet and to give suggestions concerning the allocation plans. Shanghai Jiao Tong University was the first to implement the demand-supply meeting, and many colleges modeled after it.

In 1987, Shanghai made further adjustments to the graduate placement measures. Under the guidance of state planning, graduates now submitted applications for jobs, colleges offered references, and then employers appraised the applicants and decided if they would like to employ the graduates. The needs of graduates and competition between students were introduced into the placement procedure. Students were therefore motivated to perform well in academia. This adjustment was also first tried out at Shanghai Jiao Tong University and then disseminated to other colleges.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, changes occurred to China's economic system, labor market, and higher education. China's then planned economy was becoming a market economy "supplemented by planning." During that period, Shanghai's higher education thrived and more colleges were established. The number of college graduates increased dramatically. Meanwhile, the demands for talent decreased in government agencies, colleges and scientific institutions, and state-owned companies. In contrast, small- and medium-sized enterprises, collective enterprises, and foreign-funded businesses needed large numbers of trained professionals (Wang, 2010). As a result, previous plans of graduate job placement did not go well with these changes.

Before labor markets were formed in China, colleges played an important role as intermediary agencies between graduates and employers. Starting from 1991, Shanghai began to establish tangible labor markets. The year 1991 marked an important turning point. Two legislations--the "Law of the People's Republic of China on Industrial Enterprises Owned by the Whole People" and the "Regulation on the Transformation of Operational Mechanism of the Industrial Enterprises Owned by the Whole People"--expanded the autonomies of enterprises on their recruitment strategies. Most significantly, employers were allowed to decline unqualified graduates placed by colleges. Thus, graduate-employer meetings supplemented with planned allocation became popular.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, some scholars interested in secondary education turned to career guidance models in Western countries. A series of articles and books on career guidance models from foreign countries were published in China. This corresponded to the change that vocational education was added into the secondary education system (Zhang, 1998). After the compulsory junior secondary school, young people have the choice of either entering regular senior secondary schools and pursuing higher education, or entering secondary vocational and technical schools and going to work through job allocation. However, the problem was that young people, their parents, and teachers had limited knowledge and skills about vocational decision making. To help solve this problem, the first (1987) and second (1990) National Conference on Career Guidance and Counseling were held in Shanghai (Zhang et al., 2002), and career guidance was tried out in secondary education. In 1992, a textbook on career guidance targeting secondary students was published in Shanghai (Shanghai Education Bureau, 1992).

Second Stage: Vocational Guidance (1993-1999)

The official establishment of a socialist market economy in China in 1993, the transformation of government functions, the development and application of technology, and the development of higher education together contributed to a new form of career guidance and counseling, named vocational guidance. Changes in China's economic system required corresponding changes in the administration and employment system. Vocational guidance, replacing job allocation as mandatory orders of the government, was a service targeting college graduates. Service providers were usually vocational guidance centers at schools or other vocational guidance organizations. Both graduates and service providers had to learn to adapt to the job market: Students gained the freedom to choose their own jobs but lost their reliance on the government's placement, and providers had to transform their roles from government administrative "officers" to "helpers" of graduates.

The concept of job market was introduced as China was transforming into a market economy. The job market of college graduates in Shanghai was developed based on demand-supply meetings between colleges, graduates, and employers. In 1993, the first job market for all college students in Shanghai was held, and more job markets of varying scales followed. In addition to a tangible job market, intangible job markets with the aid of the Internet were established at the same time with the advancement of technology. These networks not only disseminated employment information but also integrated various vocational guidance services into the system. To build an environment of fair competition, Shanghai established an employment information registration system, requiring all employers who recruited college graduates to make recruitment information public starting from 1997.

In 1993, the State Council issued a document titled "Essentials on the Transformation and Development of Chinese Education" (The Central Committee of Chinese Communist Party & the State Council, 1993). According to this document, most college graduates now had to find jobs themselves, and only a few were to have their jobs arranged by the government. In May 1993, the Shanghai municipal committee and municipal government held an education working conference in Shanghai and emphasized implementing the policies proposed by the aforementioned document.

In October 1993, the Shanghai Graduates Vocational Guidance Center (SGVGC) was established. Although affiliated with the Higher Education Bureau, this center was an institutional organization similar to a nonprofit and nongovernmental organization in the West. SGVGC bridges graduates and job markets, providing vocational services for graduates. Thus, the government was no longer intervening in graduate employment directly with administrative orders but was geared to market rules.

One important function of SGVGC was to disseminate employment information. It founded a newspaper called Employment Reports, a magazine titled Career Information: For Graduates, and a well-known website ( to provide employment information to students. In addition, SGVGC organized campus recruitment meetings connecting graduates and employers. It also delivered services not only to college graduates but also to senior secondary students. From 1994 to 1997, the center compiled yearly reports on college graduates' employment, presenting employment rates of recent graduates from each major of each college. SGVGC founded an annual magazine, Higher Education and Employment, in 1998, with a focus of analyzing universities and majors in terms of supply-demand status and individual career development.

Education has always been an indispensable part of Shanghai's overall development. To adapt to a market economy, Shanghai made adjustments to the configuration and structure of higher education. For example, colleges that were previously affiliated with industries were gradually separated from the industries. Instead, colleges were encouraged to foresee the demands of trained professionals and talents in various industries and to enroll students and introduce majors geared to the needs of the market. Meanwhile, college students had to pay tuition and most had to find jobs themselves in the job market. Therefore, vocational guidance centers were founded and developed at colleges during this period.

From a planned to a market economy, from job allocation arranged by the government to finding jobs by themselves, graduates gained the freedom to make their own career choices. However, graduates experienced confusion and difficulties at the same time. Some graduates still endorsed the concept of vocation under the planned economy, in which jobs were seen as lifelong employment in a state-owned enterprise or the government. They found it hard to accept the "unstable" appointment system, where employment was defined or regulated by limit-year (can be renewable) contracts. The result was that many employment opportunities were missed. Therefore, the tasks of college vocational guidance centers were to (a) prepare graduates for the market system, (b) equip graduates with knowledge in labor laws and related policies, and (c) disseminate employment information.

By 1999, vocational guidance was only offered to senior college students who were in the process of searching for jobs. The contents were mainly about labor laws, employment policies, work ethic, and how to sign a contract. Lectures and workshops were the most popular forms of delivering vocational guidance. Although vocational guidance was meant to change the concept of a job from a government arrangement to a personal choice, compared with vocational guidance services in Western societies, vocational guidance in China during this period was nonsystematic and more of a simple response to a complicated reality in China's employment system. To improve the quality of vocational guidance services, vocational guidance centers sent some staff members abroad for additional training and experience in other countries.

Third Stage: Career Education (2000-2011)

During the third stage of career guidance and counseling development in Shanghai, the target population expanded from graduates to all college students. Formal career courses were designed and offered, commonly referred to as career education. In addition to courses in career education, supplementary personal guidance and various campus activities related to careers were introduced. If job allocation is seen as the starting point of career guidance and counseling in mainland China, and vocational guidance as opening up the door of free vocational choices, then career education is the stage of enlightenment when Chinese students can now design, plan, and develop their own unique career paths. "Free choice" is applicable not only to jobs after graduation but also to students' college lives and their future career paths.

An important factor influencing the development of career guidance and counseling at this stage was the continuous growth of higher education. Since the enrollment expansion policy was first issued in 1999, colleges in Shanghai kept expanding their admission rates each year. Higher education went from elite to mass to universal in 8 years. The data from Shanghai (Wang, 2010) showed that there were 804,000 college students in 2005, about 2.2 times more than in 2000; the gross enrollment rate of higher education was 57.0% in 2005, compared with the 38.8% in 2000.

The large number of graduates created great pressure for the job market. New employment problems appeared. Still affected by traditional ideologies, graduates preferred to search for jobs in relatively more developed areas, including Shanghai, Jiangsu, Guangdong, Zhejiang, and Beijing. In addition, state-owned enterprises were still the first choice of graduates. Career centers and institutions were founded and were expected to help graduates find jobs by making the best of social resources and market mechanism.

As part of the reform of China's employment system, the relation between government and institutions was restated in terms of graduate employment. In 2001, SGVGC became an institution affiliated with the Shanghai Education Bureau (SEB) and specialized in the employment affairs of college students in Shanghai. The institution constructed a system integrating information management, career education, career service, and vocational guidance. The goal was to provide convenient services for graduates, schools (including colleges and secondary vocational and technical schools), and employers. In 2010, the name of the institution changed from SGVGC to the Shanghai Center for Student Affairs (SCSA).

To strengthen the communication and cooperation between universities, between universities and enterprises, and between universities and industries, the Shanghai College Graduate Employment Promotion Association (SCGEPA), the first professional association to promote employment of college graduates in China, was founded January 3, 2003. Wangqi, the vice director of SEB, was the first president. To promote cooperation and communication between Shanghai, Jiangsu, and Zhejiang areas, the Yangtze River Delta College Graduate Employment Work Cooperation Organization was established in October. At the end of 2003, a course in career planning, adopting experiential teaching methods, was developed in Shanghai.

Training professional practitioners has always been key to the development of career counseling and education industry. Learning from the professional standards in the United States, Canada, Japan, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, Shanghai began the process of certifying career practitioners. In 2004, Shanghai Professional Testing Authority (SPTA) and SCGEPA issued "Interim Measures for Professional Certification of Career Counseling in Shanghai." The document defined and set minimum standards for associate, junior, and senior levels of career practitioners, as well as service providers in the field of vocational guidance and career education. Practitioners who aim to earn the certificate at any level need to pass the corresponding test or assessment (SPTA & SCGEPA, 2004).

Also in 2004, SGYGC held a training program to prepare trainees for the junior-level certificate. Courses included career counseling theories, career assessment, career counseling techniques and processes, legal affairs related to career counseling, human resources theories, and career planning. In addition, SGVGC arranged for the trainees to visit university career centers in Hong Kong for a 20-day internship. In April 2005, 30 applicants passed the test by SPTA and earned the junior-level certificates. They were recognized as the first professional career practitioners with certificates (Yan & Wang, 2013). The training program, as well as the internship, was held each year since then.

It is important to note that the certificates and the training programs were aimed to train teachers from colleges in Shanghai. Teaching skills were regarded as important techniques for career practitioners, and teaching experiences were considered essential in becoming a qualified career practitioner. Considering the ever-increasing number of college students, and the fact that most Chinese people were unfamiliar with terms such as career, career counseling, and career development, career education was the starting point to help Chinese youth have some basic knowledge of career planning and develop a successful career path.

The most significant event for career education in Shanghai was a document titled "Suggestions on Implementation of Career Education to Shanghai University Students" issued by the Shanghai Science, Technology and Education Committee (SSTEC) and SEB in 2005. According to this document, career education is an important part of college students' life education. Career education serves to promote students' all-round development, preparing them for their future career and China's socialist construction. It is suggested that career education should be provided throughout students' college lives. The content of career education should be tailored to students at each stage of college education (SSTEC & SEB, 2005). The idea that career education should start with college freshmen was confirmed again by another document, "A Notice on the Work on the Initial Stage of Career Education to University Students" (SSTEC & SEB, 2007).

Echoing documents of the Shanghai government, different forms of career education were delivered in colleges. A prime example is the career education system at Donghua University in Shanghai, in which the core of the system comprised the multilevel career courses designed for students of different years. The textbooks were also compiled for different grades. Career education was carried out in the form of campus activities, such as "Career Month," and personal guidance was offered. The courses and guidance were provided by teachers in college career centers, as well as guidance teachers who themselves teach political and ideological education and provide career services as part-time work. Some of these teachers hold junior-level certification in career counseling.

To encourage the development of career education, SEB advocated the construction of Shanghai college graduates "employment bases" in 2010. Colleges were inspired to establish a variety of innovation bases according to their varying characteristics of career education or career information services. Forty-five innovation bases were founded in Shanghai in 3 years (Yan & Wang, 2013).

Fourth Stage: Career Counseling (2012-2015)

The fourth stage, an ongoing development since 2012, is marked by the takeoff of the career guidance and counseling industry in Shanghai. The term career counseling highlights people's concerns about their personal career development and the recognition of career services. These services include career education and career counseling, offered by professional practitioners to help people understand themselves and the work world, and to develop satisfactory career paths in today's highly competitive Chinese society. This stage focuses on the training of professional career counselors, as well as transitioning career guidance- and counseling-related service delivery from colleges to secondary schools following two corollary events: the establishment of the Shanghai Institute of Career Education (SICE) and the reform of the national college entrance examination system.

By this stage, the needs for career education and career counseling have drastically increased in Shanghai. A pressing problem is that the quality and quantity of existing career practitioners cannot meet the growing need for career counseling. With the goal of promoting the professionalization of career counseling practice, SICE was jointly founded by SCSA and Shanghai Normal University in September 2012, with the support of SEB. SICE is an institute specializing in career development research, and its research team mainly consists of scholars from the fields of psychology and education.

An important mission of SICE is to train professional career counselors. The institute enrolled its first group of postgraduate students in career development in fall 2012. The program offers interdisciplinary training in career development and education, preparing master's and PhD candidates to be career practitioners or scholars in various educational settings. As part of the program requirement, students need to work as an intern in career centers of schools or SCSA. The first group of students graduated in June 2015, further strengthening the professionalization of career practice in mainland China.

In addition to nurturing future career counseling practitioners and scholars, SICE and SCSA provide continuing training and support for professionals currently working in colleges in Shanghai. In August 2013, a training program for senior-level career practitioners was launched. Most trainees were the directors of the career centers in colleges and have worked at positions dealing with job displacement or career guidance for at least 10 years. In this program, scholars from vocational psychology, higher education, law, and human resources give talks, emphasizing the ability to be supervisors in career counseling practice. In December 2014, 13 trainees earned their qualification of senior-level career counseling practitioners.

In March 2014, a document issued by the Ministry of Education of the People's Republic of China (MEPRC) stated that career guidance and counseling is an important skill set to be obtained by college guidance teachers. Additionally, this document identified three levels of guidance teachers: elementary, intermediate, and advanced. The ability to perform career counseling practice is to be increased as the guidance teachers are promoted to higher levels (MEPRC, 2014). Guidance teachers are expected to learn and practice career development in order to meet qualifications and to become the main practitioners offering career services in colleges.

On May 10-11, 2014, the first Shanghai International Forum on Student Career Development and Education was hosted by SCSA and SICE, held at Shanghai Normal University. The goal of the meeting was to further disseminate recent research on how students develop their careers and to facilitate dialogue on how career intervention/ education can make a difference in students' career development. The forum's theme was "Career Development Education and the Quality of Secondary and Higher Education." Scholars, educators, and career practitioners from the United States, Australia, Hong Kong, and mainland China attended the forum. As the stakeholders, officers from SEB and the Chinese Student Information and Career Center were also invited to give talks at the meeting.

The last session of the forum included a roundtable session titled "Transformed China and the World: Challenges and Responses to Students' Career Development." Scholars, career practitioners, and education administrators discussed topics such as Chinese culture and theories of career development, the indigenization of career assessment tools, the possibility of combining qualitative and quantitative assessment, and the professionalization of career counseling. Attendees agreed that career development is fundamental to students' career life and that researchers, career practitioners, administrators, policy makers, and parents should work together to promote the development of career development as a profession.

Another important event influencing the development of career counseling is the reform in the Chinese National College Entrance Examination (NCEE) system launched in September 2014. This reform was first tested in Shanghai and Zhejiang province, and then extended to the rest of the country. NCEE is crucial to the career life of individuals in China, reflected in a Chinese saying that "the test determines the rest of life." The exam scores determine whether a student is able to go to college and how prestigious of a college a student can attend. A diploma from a prestigious college often leads to a good and stable job. According to the government document released by the State Council (2014), one of the most important features of the new NCEE system is that senior secondary school students are now faced with ever more choices of potential career paths in earlier periods of their lives. This change will inevitably call for the help of career counselors or teachers in secondary schools.

To make the point clearer, we briefly discuss the old and new NCEE systems. In the old system, senior secondary school students had to make two choices. The first choice was choosing between a science and an arts track. The subjects in the science track include biology, chemistry, and physics; the subjects in the arts track include politics, history, and geography. In the college entrance exam, students were tested on three compulsory subjects (Chinese, math, and English), as well as subjects in the science/art track. The second choice that students faced was what colleges to apply to and what majors to select. The word choice does not mean that students had many options from which to choose. The primary determinant of their college admission and major in the old system was their test scores. Therefore, students did not need to make decisions that would bear important implications for their future career paths. Their parents and teachers were usually the reasonable resources for suggestions of college choices.

Compared with the old system, the reformed NCEE system has three important changes (Shanghai Municipal Government, 2014). First, the division of the science and arts track no longer exists. The new college entrance exam comprises three compulsory subjects (Chinese, math, and English) and three noncompulsory subjects from a wider range, including geography, biology, chemistry, physics, politics, and history. The decision of choosing which three noncompulsory subjects depends on the student's personal interests as well as the requirements of majors for which the student plans to apply. Second, test scores on the NCEE are no longer the only criterion for college admission. Students' performance on the academic proficiency test in senior secondary school and personal qualities, such as compliance with moral codes, sense of social responsibility, and creativity, are also considered when colleges admit students. Finally, how students perform on high school academic proficiency tests, career adaptive tests, and personal qualities are considered for vocational schools admission and enrollment.

Freshmen who were admitted to senior secondary schools in 2014 will be the first to take the new NCEE. Students, parents, school teachers, and administrators are trying their best to cope with the new examination system. With these changes, the role of career professionals is highly valued. High school administrators and teachers need career counselors' help to design career development courses and activities, in order to help students explore who they are, who they want to be, their career interests, their values, their abilities, and their personalities. Parents and students need career counselors' help to develop the skills of making career plans, making the decision on selecting college majors, and selecting the corresponding noncompulsory subjects.

To help middle school administrators, career teachers, parents, and high school students to cope with the challenges related to career development under the new system, the second Shanghai International Forum on Student Career Development and Education was held on June 19-21, 2015. The theme of the forum was "Career and Individual Development Under the Reform of College Entrance Examination in China." Scholars, practitioners, and officers from mainland China and overseas discussed issues related to career counseling and curriculum projects in hopes of coping with the challenges imposed by the new entrance exam. The meeting also sought to establish the national professional association, extend career services to parents, and promote collaborations on research projects that would help the indigenization of career development theories and tools to meet the needs of Chinese students.

Discussion and Conclusion

In this article, we reviewed the development of career guidance and counseling in Shanghai from 1977 to 2015. By highlighting the political and economic influences, we carved the history of career guidance and counseling into four stages: job allocation (1977-1992), vocational guidance (1993-1999), career education (2000-2011), and career counseling (2012-2015). Throughout the four stages, (a) the concept of career evolved from being the "needs of socialist construction" to "career development of individuals," (b) the development of the career guidance and counseling industry went from a government-oriented enterprise to individual-oriented practices, and (c) the career services went from simple guidance for college graduates to an integration of multiple services on a larger scale. An important success is that people are gradually realizing that career is a lifelong process rather than a job limited to a given time point and that career awareness should be cultivated early in life.

However, these advancements with career guidance and counseling are limited by China's social and economic context, as well as the overall lack of knowledge concerning career development. Extensive efforts have been put on college and high school students themselves, whereas the connections between students and parents, as well as between students and teachers, were generally ignored, despite the fact that parents and teachers exert great influences on Chinese students' career choices. In addition, children and young adolescents are believed to be too young to think about career issues; therefore, career education has yet to reach this population. Although graduates and young adults are the focus of career education, some underprivileged groups such as young women, people with disabilities, and rural populations are not given sufficient attention.

Future development of the career guidance and counseling industry in Shanghai should focus on building a comprehensive and integrated system. Areas of improvement include expansion of clientele, service delivery, cooperation of stakeholders, indigenization of theories and tools, and establishment of a professional association. For example, students at younger ages and underprivileged populations should have access to career guidance and counseling. In addition, career curriculum/education, career testing, personal or group counseling, coaching, and various activities related to career or the work world should be delivered in an integrated manner. Counseling/ education plans should be designed according to the characteristics of tire clients. In terms of the stakeholders, government agents, various companies, communities, schools, students, and parents should work together to promote career development of younger generations in China. With regard to the theories and tools, a combined etic-emic approach (Cheung, van de Vijver, & Leong, 2011) can be adopted. Finally, Shanghai should set up a regional professional association and advocate for the establishment of a national professional organization.

Compared with the development of career guidance and counseling industries in other parts of China, Shanghai, Beijing, and Guangzhou are widely recognized as cities that have taken the lead in the industry. Other relatively developed areas such as Jiangsu province are rapidly expanding career education and counseling. Shanghai has exerted substantial influence on other provinces. For example, organizations such as the Yangtze River Delta College Graduate Employment Work Cooperation Organization were built to facilitate cooperation and communication between Shanghai and the surrounding provinces. Academic conferences including the Shanghai International Forum on Student Career Development and Education are good platforms for such dialogues to take place.

In addition to influencing neighboring provinces' development of career counseling industry, Shanghai also benefits from the development of the industry nationwide. To promote national development of the industry, the Ministry of Education issued a document titled "Requirements on Career Curriculum for College Students" in December 2007. This document required that career courses should be included in college curriculum across China. Teachers are encouraged to expand their specialty in career development, and funds are promoted for building the career curriculum system (MEPRC, 2007). After the release of the document, national career planning contests, training programs for career teachers, and various seminars were held. Representatives from Shanghai attended some of the programs and seminars and gained invaluable experience through their communications with representatives from colleges of other regions.

Zhang et al. (2002) asserted that China is at the beginning stage of career counseling. This still holds true, although Shanghai has made impressive progress in the past 13 years. On the one hand, the industry of career counseling in Shanghai is seeking to address various challenges, such as the indigenization of career theories and techniques. On the other hand, we anticipate a successful future for the career counseling profession in Shanghai, because of the increased interests in individuals' career development, changes imposed by the reformed college entrance exam and enrollment system, and the pluralistic career choices young people in China are now facing.

Received 12/18/15

Revised 01/09/16

Accepted 01/11/16

DOI: 10.1002/cdq.12055

Xiaolu Zhou and Yaoming Gao, Research Institute for International and Comparative Education, Shanghai Normal University, and Shanghai Institute of Career Education, Shanghai, China; Xixi Li, School of Social Development, East China Normal University, Shanghai, China. Preparation of this article was sponsored by Shanghai Pujiang Program (14PJC087) to Xiaolu Zhou. Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Xiaolu Zhou, Research Institute for International and Comparative Education, Shanghai Normal University, 100 Guilin Road, Shanghai, People's Republic of China, 200234 (e-mail:


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Title Annotation:Special Issue: Career Development and Intervention in Chinese Contexts
Author:Zhou, Xiaolu; Li, Xixi; Gao, Yaoming
Publication:Career Development Quarterly
Geographic Code:9CHIN
Date:Sep 1, 2016
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