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Half of working Canadians who have not had career counselling said they would seek employment advice from a professional first if they could do it over.

That's according to a new survey that looked at how 1,500 Canadians use career counselling services.

"There is recognition that just like you need a financial planner and other professionals in your life, you also need professional advice to successfully manage your career," said Jan Basso, chair of the Canadian Education and Research Institute for Counselling (CERIC), which commissioned the survey along with the Counselling Foundation of Canada.

Career professionals help with far more than writing résumés, says Riz Ibrahim, CERIC's executive director. They identify people's interests and skills and – with their understanding of the job market – give guidance on how to enter the work force or advance an already established career.

And yet, the survey findings reveal the number of Canadians with careers seeking employment counselling declines as age rises. Many said they didn't need career coaching or were unfamiliar with the range of services available. Concerns about financial cost also acted as a barrier to accessing employment services for some participants.

Nearly six in 10 students, on the other hand, reported they were likely to seek advice from professionals – and also cited parents, other family members and friends as individuals they've consulted with about their career ambitions.

As for the rest, participants reported most commonly having met with a high-school guidance counsellor, followed by a postsecondary career counsellor, a human resources person at work, someone at a community-based employment centre, or a headhunter.

The survey, conducted by Navigator, also found that more women (57 per cent) than men (50 per cent) report having accessed career services.

Ontario residents (61 per cent) were the most likely to sought advice from a career professional, followed by those in Quebec (49 per cent), Atlantic Canada (46 per cent) and B.C. (45 per cent).