Hidden Sector, Hidden Talent

Mapping Canada’s Career Development Sector

Career development is critical to shaping employment, work, education, and labour markets across Canada. Yet policymakers, employers, and Canadians know very little about the career development sector.

In this CERIC-funded project, we set out to identify the size and membership of Canada’s career development sector. For the first time ever, Hidden Sector, Hidden Talent: Mapping Canada’s Career Development Sector reveals the full scope of the people and systems providing career services and supports to Canadians.

Hidden Sector, Hidden Talent: Mapping Canada’s Career Development Sector

A first-of-its kind evidence base about the size, membership, and impact of Canada’s career development sector

Features of the evidence base

A Sector Scoping Model that defines the career development sector’s membership

Answers to two foundational questions about the sector

  1. How many career development professionals are there in Canada?
  2. How many organizations provide career services in Canada?

A national portrait of the sector

13 profiles of the career development ecosystems in each of Canada’s provinces and territories

62 recommendations and 20 impact questions

23 areas for future exploration, categorized into 4 themes

Considerations about the state of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Indigeneity (EDII) among Canada’s career development professionals

How will the evidence base be used?

The evidence base will help sector leaders, policymakers, and other interest holders:

  • Determine the socioeconomic impact of career development
  • Recognize both the value of core professionals and the role of broader career influencers
  • Better understand career development professionals’ learning needs
  • Advocate for public awareness and recognition of career development
  • Identify gaps and opportunities to advance the maturity of career development in Canada



“With billions in public funding being allocated, the stakes for making smart investments are high—as is the opportunity. Done well, Canada can establish and support a culture of lifelong career development and ownership that is responsive to local labour markets, while also guiding Canadians to meaningful, decent work in sectors and industries that will dominate in the future.”

Hidden Sector, Hidden Talent: Mapping Canada’s Career Development Sector (Section 5)

In the news

  • CanadianSME Small Business Magazine: “Interview with Lisa Taylor: Innovative perspectives on reshaping career development”
  • CBC Alberta: “What if Canadians had an annual career checkup, just like they do for their health?”
  • CBC Radio Toronto: “What’s a career checkup, and why is it so important?”
  • Toronto Sun: “Annual career checkups – Reviewing career direction vital to success”
  • CareerWise: “Who works in career development in Canada? A holistic sector map”

Watch the webinar


  • CERIC project announcement: “Project to map Canada’s career services landscape awarded to Challenge Factory and CCDF”
  • Blog: “Revealing the hidden career development sector: Q&A with Maureen McCann”
  • Blog: “It’s time for a national strategy on adult career guidance in Canada”
  • Careers & Canadians series: “Virtual fireside chat with policy leader Alastair MacFadden”
  • Workforce Architecture: “Solve your workforce problems by escaping the ‘no one knows’ trap” (Case study)
  • Workforce Architecture: “Zoom in and out to find what’s hidden”

This research advances the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Quality Education
Decent Work and Economic Growth
Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
Reduced Inequalities
Partnerships for the Goals

This research advances two of the five drivers shaping the Future of Work

Demographics and longevity
Career ownership and employment relationships