The current state of career counselling in South African institutions of higher education in the 21st century is explored in this article in an attempt to locate current work in the field of career counselling in South Africa in the light of global trends (academic and economic) and in terms of local history and current economic climate. The article is based largely on an examination of factors that have contributed collectively and individually to the current state of affairs in career counselling in South Africa (with particular emphasis on institutions of higher education). The key aim is to create a deeper understanding of what can be done to help millions of young people in South Africa (including those who are currently excluded from sought-after fields of study and training institutions) access those opportunities that are available and, in the process, to promote equity, access and redress. Some salient aspects of 21st century career counselling, including the history of career counselling in South Africa and elsewhere, the need for a changed approach to career counselling at all levels, and the interplay between the different waves in psychology are explicated. Helping models in career counselling, the narrative approach, the global economy and the impact of global
developments on career counselling are considered. It is endeavoured to deconstruct
and explain the impact of these factors on what is currently happening in South Africa and determine whether South Africa has kept abreast of contemporary developments historically, epistemologically and at a more practical level.