News story

So Much More Than Talking About Jobs

Career Development InstituteLearning News

A campaign to prompt people to think about the work of career development professionals gets underway.

Bella Doswell: inviting people to actively engage with career development professionals
Bella Doswell: inviting people to actively engage with career development professionals 

On the morning of 1 February, a demonstration by career development professionals will be taking place on LinkedIn in the style of a virtual flash mob. It is part of a campaign to educate everyone by prompting them to think about what career development professionals do, and invite them to actively engage.

The event has been organised by two experienced careers practitioners – Bella Doswell and Katherine Jennick. They are encouraging their fellow career professionals to follow the trend #SoMuchMoreThanTalkingAboutJobs to share the true narrative behind providing careers support for young people and adults, bringing together the career development profession to showcase just how creative, innovative, and passionate they truly are. 

Bella comments: We started this as a grassroots campaign, in response to three main issues: a lack of understanding by the public about what we do; a lack of confidence and common language by careers professionals to describe what we do; and the apparent acceptance by some employers in the UK that our careers and coaching qualifications are not a mandatory requirement to do our job. 

This campaign was designed to bring careers colleagues together, giving them a narrative to invite curiosity and discussion from the public, family, and friends about who we are and what we do. Our hope is that it also acts as a strong message to employers, to say that together, we are a body of trained professionals who are best placed to deliver quality careers services - we offer #SoMuchMoreThanTalkingAboutJobs.”

Katherine also commented: This campaign is a professional dream come true for me. It’s a celebration of the incredible careers’ community which I’m immensely proud to be part of. 

I have always tried to cheerlead the profession from within because there is often a misunderstanding of what we do by wider society, and there are assumptions that Careers Advisers just talk about jobs and ‘tell people what to do.’ The reality of career guidance could not be more different. And I want people to know that. I’m determined to change the narrative and this campaign is one way of creating positive change.”

The Career Development Institute (CDI) is the professional body for career development across the UK and will be fully supporting Bella and Katherine’s flash mob campaign to raise awareness of the breadth and value of career guidance for young people and adults. It comes at a time when careers services for young people and adults are struggling to recruit and retain qualified careers practitioners and, in too many cases, diluting requirements for qualifications that guarantee the level of knowledge necessary to support clients with a wide variety of needs.

Recent research by the CDI and Careers England shows these challenges are particularly acute in England with pay levels that fail to reflect the required degree or masters level qualifications, for example with salaries in many English schools of around £26,000 - £28,000 for a qualified and experienced practitioner, less than the starting salary for most teachers. 

CDI research also shows that, while those working in the profession are immensely proud of the work they do (84% of 317 respondents agreeing or strongly agreeing to the statement), only 12% feel the profession is recognised and valued, and fewer than 8% feel the Government makes sufficient investment in career development for either young people or adults.

This is leading to a potential crisis in career development, with nearly 23% of those surveyed saying they are likely or very likely to leave the profession within the next two years, mostly through retirement or poor levels of pay and benefits.

David Morgan, Chief Executive of the CDI, voiced his support for the campaign: “It’s vital that people understand the value that career development professionals add to the individuals they support. It’s not just talking about jobs, it’s helping individuals define career goals, identify their strengths and skill needs, help them navigate the sometimes-complex paths to gain those skills, and put them to good use in work. It’s also about building career management skills so young people and adults can continue to thrive throughout their career and is particularly important for those who face disadvantage of any form, and who benefit massively from this support.

The cumulative effect of the millions of individual interactions that careers professionals have each year also benefits the economy and society, ensuring we are developing the skills required for the future economy, building a productive workforce, and enabling individuals to make a positive contribution to their communities. I’ll be proudly wearing my t-shirt on 1st Feb to support Bella, Katherine and all my colleagues in this amazing profession.”

Bella, Katherine and many fellow professionals will be making their statements from 09:00 on 1 February by proudly sharing pictures of themselves and displaying the event’s key statement ‘So Much More Than Talking About Jobs’. Join the conversation on the day by following the hashtag #SoMuchMoreThanTalkingAboutJobs and learn more about the importance of these professionals and their mission.  

Career Development Institute (CDI)

The Career Development Institute (CDI) is the UK’s professional body for all aspects of career development, supporting our members to work to the highest standards and championing the profession.We set standards for professional practice, including the CDI Code of Ethics, which are recognised by government and we manage the UK Register of Career Development Professionals. We award the Qualification in Career Development and deliver training through the CDI Academy for those looking to enter the sector and progress in the profession. We provide resourcestraining events and networking for our members to enable them to continually develop.

The #CDIBigListen survey was conducted by the CDI in December 2022 and January 2023 and was open to career development professionals working in the UK and internationally. The survey received 317 responses. Results for this survey and previous surveys are available at

The Careers England report on Workforce Recruitment and Retention in the Career Sector reported on surveys of careers providers and their employees up to July 2022.