NCDA 2011 Harris Interactive Survey on Working America


Career Practitioners are Vital in

Developing the US Workforce


Contact: Deneen Pennington, Executive Director or dpenn@ncda.org

Date: September 1, 2011

Subject: NCDA’s National Survey on Working America



Broken Arrow, OK – As the US job market continues to diminish, it is increasingly important for job-seekers to look to career practitioners to develop the career-planning competencies needed to find a job that matches their preferences and skill-set.


The National Career Development Association (NCDA) commissioned Harris Interactive to conduct a National Survey of Working America. The poll assessed the perceptions of today’s workforce on the effectiveness of career counselors, the need for expanded workforce training opportunities and the hardships implicit in selecting, changing or getting a job in the current economic climate. The feedback is very clear: career practitioners are a vital resource for the livelihood of our nation’s workforce and are underutilized relative to their potential need and value.


In the 2011 Poll, only one quarter (24%) of adults report that they have already visited a career practitioner and 86% of those found them to be helpful. Only 37% of respondents reported making a conscious choice when choosing a career while over half (56%) took the only job available, looked interesting at the time, or chose based on the influence of parents/relatives or friends. Nearly four in ten adults in the labor force who say the globalization of the American economy has impacted them believe globalization has changed their job significantly (36%), requiring them to learn new skills (36%) and impacting their job/career prospects (35%). This is significantly higher than what was reported in 1999, when one in five (18%) employed adults believed it would change the way they do their job.


This survey was conducted by phone among 1,000 adults, 18 years of age or older. The sample represents a total population of 185.2 million adults, based on the U.S. Census current population reports, and was comprised of 49% males and 51% females. The study examined adults’ attitudes and experience related to work and the selection of a career or job. Interviews were conducted from April 18 – May 2, 2011. Complete National Survey Data and video clips are available at www.ncda.org.


The National Career Development Association is an association of 5000 career development professionals who work in education, business and industry, community and government agencies, and private practice. NCDA inspires and empowers the achievement of career and life goals by providing professional development, resources, standards, scientific research, and advocacy.


Click here for a Video Press Release. For broadcast quality videos, contact dpenn@ncda.org


Click here for the Harris Poll Executive Summary (PDF)


"Dear Representative/Senator" - a letter from NCDA President Cheri Butler


NCDA Harris Poll Press Release 2011 (print version)

Printer-Friendly Version


Ellen Weaver Paquette   on Thursday 09/01/2011 at 08:55 PM

An excellent contribution to our work as career professionals, we shall reference for some time to come.

Niel Carey   on Friday 09/02/2011 at 10:24 AM

Congratulations to NCDA leaders and staff for the NCDA/Harris survey. The survey is a valuable PR tool, and provides concise and convincing data to policymakers as well as useful data for career professionals.

Stefani Schomaker   on Saturday 09/03/2011 at 12:35 PM

I am thrilled to see NCDA focusing time, energy, and funding to research. This data is key to justifying the need for career professionals and the development of our field. Thank you for putting our membership dues to good use. With NCDA, membership DOES have its benefits!

Kendall DUDLEY   on Monday 09/12/2011 at 03:47 PM

Excellent report. I'm concerned however that the services that are available are poorly advertised and dependent on an actively aware population of help seekers. What about the many who don't know of such services and/or don't see how they could be of use? I'm interested in thinking about ways of taking initial services and contacts to the hard to reach populations. Providing a bridge from where they are to what's available. Can we learn from other service delivery models in other fields (public health) and countries (barefoot doctors in China)? What if we saw unemployment as a public health issue (which it is)--would more services, monies and attention be directed at the problem?

Jamie Tuttle   on Wednesday 09/14/2011 at 10:02 AM

Honestly I was surprised that 24% of adults have already utilized a career practitioner. Not because I thought it was low, rather it was high. Maybe I have been in the dark but I do not know anybody who has utilized any services offered in this regard. I am not entirely sure where one could go to recieve services. I have not been looking and maybe this is why I do not see them. With the results of the poll showing that 86% of those who did utilize such services were satisfied, one might expect those using career pratitioner services to increase significantly; if not by word of mouth from happy working adults, then by the strain of a struggling job market. Great work by the way.

Caroline Cleland   on Monday 09/19/2011 at 06:08 AM

The survey information is hugely interesting as are the comments. I'm wondering what are the strategies for making career development services more widely known and better utilised. The issue I am sure is just as relevant here in Australia and in other parts of the world. Is anyone aware of strategies that tackle the issue in America or elsewhere? Kendall's suggestions sound like a useful starting point.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the comments shown above are those of the individual comment authors and do not reflect the views or opinions of this organization.