The assessment of quality of working life in career guidance and counselling

Simon Easton, Darren Van Laar

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


Effective career guidance interventions can have many benefits for individuals seeking assistance. Potential outcomes of interventions by career guidance counselors include the improvement of employment opportunities and the experience of employment, improvement in someone’s quality of life, and the broader fostering of economic growth. While there has been debate about the relevance of various goals and aims in career guidance and counseling, and concern has been expressed that some suggested goals could be more practically relevant, it can be argued that assessment of any changes in an individual’s experience of work should be the focus of any such endeavors. As has been previously proposed, interventions in this sphere could be assessed in terms of their effect on the client’s quality of working life (QoWL), which refers to the broader experience of employment, taking into account aspects such as job satisfaction, stress at work, and the home-work balance. Until recently, however, there have been few valid and reliable measures of someone’s QoWL.
In this chapter, we briefly review the requirements for assessment of outcomes in career guidance and counseling in relation to the development of an evidence base for interventions. Next, we look at the concept of QoWL and describe a measure by way of illustration: the work-related quality of life (WRQoL) scale. An overview of the development of this measure, the individual questionnaire items, and the psychometric properties of the six subscales are presented. The use of the WRQoL in the assessment of the experience of a group of university graduates in the UK work setting is described, and the use of such a measure in work with individuals, both as regards its contribution towards formulation as a basis for interventions and in relation to its use as a pre- and post-assessment measure in the career guidance and counseling setting, is discussed. Care of course needs to be taken when a measure developed in one setting is taken for use in another setting, but this measure has been translated into several languages and used in many cultures and employment settings to date. In conclusion, we consider the relevance of attitudinal differences, employment opportunities and expectations, and other related factors that differentiate one group of workers from another, as any measure of the outcomes of career guidance and counseling will need to strike a balance between reference to appropriate and meaningful cross-cultural aspects of working and culture-specific issues.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of career development
Subtitle of host publicationinternational perspectives
EditorsGideon Arulmani, Arulmani J. Bakshi, Frederick T. L. Leong, A. G. Watts
Place of PublicationNew York
ISBN (Electronic)9781461494607
ISBN (Print)9781461494591
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Publication series

NameInternational and cultural psychology
ISSN (Print)1574-0455


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