Focused for some, exploratory for others: job search strategies and successful university-to-work transitions in the context of labour market ambiguity

Okay-Somerville, B. and Scholarios, D. (2022) Focused for some, exploratory for others: job search strategies and successful university-to-work transitions in the context of labour market ambiguity. Journal of Career Development, 49(1), pp. 126-143. (doi: 10.1177/08948453211016058)

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This article examines the role of student job search strategies that differ in goal-directedness (focused, exploratory and haphazard) in achieving successful university-to-work transitions (i.e., employment in jobs with high skill use/development and qualification-job match). The relationship between job search and employment outcomes is considered in two labour market contexts - high or low ambiguity – which are represented by the comparison between arts, humanities, and social sciences (AHSS) and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) graduates, respectively. Using two-wave survey data, we find that job search strategies during university do not explain, yet differentially impact, successful outcomes one year after graduation. Fully exploring opportunities was particularly beneficial for STEM graduates (low ambiguity context) and more focused job search was beneficial for AHSS graduates (high ambiguity context). Paradoxically, findings both question and reinforce the efficacy of career agency for overcoming barriers to labour market entry, depending on the job search context. The study contributes to the agency and context debates relevant for school-to-work transitions.

Item Type:Articles
Keywords:School-to-work transitions, university-to-work transitions, labour market ambiguity, degree subject, graduates, career agency, job search strategies, goal clarity, STEM, arts, humanities and social science (AHSS).
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Scholarios, Prof Dora and Okay-Somerville, Dr Belgin
Authors: Okay-Somerville, B., and Scholarios, D.
Subjects: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:HRM&OB
Journal Name:Journal of Career Development
Publisher:SAGE Publications
ISSN (Online):1556-0856
Published Online:18 May 2021
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2021 Curators of the University of Missouri
First Published:First published in Journal of Career Development 49(1): 126-143
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
300034University-to-work transitions: the role of career self-management in graduation employability and employment success.Belgin Okay-SomervilleBritish Academy (BRITACAD)SG132411BS - Management