Coping with career boundaries and boundary-crossing in the graduate labour market

Okay-Somerville, B. and Scholarios, D. (2014) Coping with career boundaries and boundary-crossing in the graduate labour market. Career Development International, 19(6), 668 -682. (doi: 10.1108/CDI-12-2013-0144)

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Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore the nature and role of career boundaries for enabling/constraining career self-management (CSM) for occupational boundary-crossing in the UK graduate labour market (GLM). Design/methodology/approach – The data are provided by career history interviews with 36 UK graduates. The analysis contrasts transitions for those who started careers in low-, intermediate-, and high-skilled segments of the labour market. Findings – Availability of development and progression opportunities were the most prominent career boundary experienced. Ease of boundary-crossing differed by career stage and educational background. Boundaries enabled CSM by acting as psychological/external push factors, but push factors only aided progression to high-skilled segments for a third of graduates who started careers in underemployment. For the rest, an adaptation of expectations to labour market realities was observed. Research limitations/implications – Although career history interviews limit generalisability, they contextualise boundaries and deepen understanding of career actors’ subjective experiences and responses. Practical implications – The study highlights the role of labour market and demand-side constraints for career transitions as well as proactive career behaviours. This has implications for career counsellors, employers, and individuals. Originality/value – This paper provides a distinctive “boundary-focused” analysis of emerging career boundaries in the GLM. The findings point to the intricate interplay between structure and agency for career development.

Item Type:Articles (Other)
Keywords:Boundaryless career, boundary-crossing, career boundaries, career self-management, graduate labour market, underemployment.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Scholarios, Prof Dora and Okay-Somerville, Dr Belgin
Authors: Okay-Somerville, B., and Scholarios, D.
Subjects:B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
College/School:College of Social Sciences > Adam Smith Business School > Management
Research Group:Human Resource Management & Organisational Behaviour
Journal Name:Career Development International
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited
ISSN (Online):1758-6003

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