ArticlePDF Available

Self-perceived employability: Development and validation of a scale

Authors:

Abstract and Figures

Purpose Employability concerns the extent to which people possess the skills and other attributes to find and stay in work of the kind they want. It is thought by many to be a key goal for individuals to aim for in managing their careers, and for organisations to foster in workforces. The purpose of this paper is to report on the development of a self‐report measure of individuals' perceived employability. It also seeks to examine its construct validity and correlates. Design/methodology/approach Based on the analysis of relevant literature, this study developed 16 items which were intended collectively to reflect employability within and outside the person's current organisation, based on his or her personal and occupational attributes. This study administered these items by questionnaire to 200 human resources professionals in the UK, along with established measures of career success and professional commitment, as well as questions reflecting demographic variables. Findings This article retained 11 of the 16 items for assessing self‐perceived employability. Concludes that self‐perceived employability can usefully be thought of as either a unitary construct, or one with two related components – internal (to the organisation) and external employability. The measure very successfully distinguished employability from professional commitment, and fairly successfully from career success. Only slight variations in employability could be attributed to demographic characteristics. Research limitations/implications This research has begun to address the gap in the literature for a brief yet psychometrically adequate measure of self‐perceived individual employability. Practical implications This author believes that the scale can be applied to other occupational groups, in organisational consultancy, and in individual career development. It can be used either as one scale or two, depending on the purpose of the investigation. Originality/value Concludes that this research represents a psychometrically adequate contribution in an under‐researched field, and will lead to future research with other occupational samples, and in other settings.
Content may be subject to copyright.
Self-perceived employability:
development and validation
of a scale
Andrew Rothwell
University of Derby, Derby, UK and
John Arnold
Loughborough University, Loughborough, UK
Abstract
Purpose Employability concerns the extent to which people possess the skills and other attributes
to find and stay in work of the kind they want. It is thought by many to be a key goal for individuals to
aim for in managing their careers, and for organisations to foster in workforces. The purpose of this
paper is to report on the development of a self-report measure of individuals’ perceived employability.
It also seeks to examine its construct validity and correlates.
Design/methodology/approach Based on the analysis of relevant literature, this study
developed 16 items which were intended collectively to reflect employability within and outside the
person’s current organisation, based on his or her personal and occupational attributes. This study
administered these items by questionnaire to 200 human resources professionals in the UK, along with
established measures of career success and professional commitment, as well as questions reflecting
demographic variables.
Findings This article retained 11 of the 16 items for assessing self-perceived employability.
Concludes that self-perceived employability can usefully be thought of as either a unitary construct, or
one with two related components internal (to the organisation) and external employability. The
measure very successfully distinguished employability from professional commitment, and fairly
successfully from career success. Only slight variations in employability could be attributed to
demographic characteristics.
Research limitations/implications This research has begun to address the gap in the literature
for a brief yet psychometrically adequate measure of self-perceived individual employability.
Practical implications This author believes that the scale can be applied to other occupational
groups, in organisational consultancy, and in individual career development. It can be used either as
one scale or two, depending on the purpose of the investigation.
Originality/value Concludes that this research represents a psychometrically adequate
contribution in an under-researched field, and will lead to future research with other occupational
samples, and in other settings.
Keywords Employment, Careers, Human resource management
Paper type Research paper
Introduction
The impact of the changing nature of work on individuals, their careers and their
work-related attitudes has been at the forefront of research in human resources,
organisational behaviour and work psychology since the late 1980s (Arnold, 1997).
This has included alternatives to models of linear, hierarchical organisational careers
(e.g. Arthur and Rousseau, 1996; Pieperl and Baruch, 1997), and changes to
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at
www.emeraldinsight.com/0048-3486.htm
Self-perceived
employability
23
Received 30 June 2004
Revised 24 December 2004
Accepted 23 March 2005
Personnel Review
Vol. 36 No. 1, 2007
pp. 23-41
q Emerald Group Publishing Limited
0048-3486
DOI 10.1108/00483480710716704
psychological contracts (e.g. Herriot and Pemberton, 1996; Sparrow, 1996; Rousseau,
1995, 2001). Much of the research has focused on managerialist issues such as the
negative impact these trends may have on individuals’ attitudes to work and
attachment to their employing organisation. Traditional organisational attachment has
been perceived as decreasingly desirable for employees by some writers (e.g. Baruch,
1998), and a more individual model of work and career has been promoted,
emphasising the beyond-organisation aspects such as the boundaryless career (Arthur,
1994; Bird, 1994).
The notion of employability is often associated with this new analysis. In an
environment which no longer readily offers long-term employment, a key goal for
individuals (and for some careers interventions) is to maintain and enhance
individuals’ attractiveness in the labour market. In this paper we describe the
development and validation of a scale of self-perceived employability a sample of
Human Resources professionals. One reason for choosing professional workers for
this study was the belief that these individuals may, through their professional
values and professional allegiances that go beyond organisational boundaries, be
relatively self-reliant in the employment marketplace.
Employability as a concept has often been discussed but no consistent definition
been attached to the word. Pascale (1995, p. 21) suggested that employability is:
An ill-thought out concept infused with more hope than substance.
Similarly, Rajan et al. (2000, p. 23) caustically claimed:
It is one of the few words that has gone from cliche
´
to jargon without the intermediate stage of
meaning.
More generously, Sanders and de Grip (2004) suggest that the meaning of
employability has changed systematically over the last three decades or so,
depending on the labour market conditions and government policies of the time.
However, they also note that there is increasing divergence between definitions, with
some focussing purely on workers knowledge and skills, whilst others place greater
emphasis on willingness to do (or learn to do) whatever kinds of work the labour
market dictates (e.g. Van Dam, 2004).
In this study we want to emphasise the individual focus (i.e. what people believe
their employment options are). This is distinct from the organisational or government
policy foci; or the conception of employability as a human resources strategy promoted
by organisations as an alternative to career or job-for-life (Pascale, 1995; Rajan, 1997).
We felt it was important to work with a succinct yet broad definition of employability.
In many respects we preferred what Thijssen (1997) referred to as an all-embracing
view of employability, particularly because of its inclusion of labour market variables
as well as individual capability. On the other hand, we felt that the inclusion of
individual attitudes would risk confusing employability per se with its attitudinal
antecedents, such as willingness to learn new skills. Fugate et al.’s (2004, p. 23)
definition of employability as “one’s ability to identify and realise career opportunities”
became available too late for our consideration, but has the virtue of brevity. On the
other hand, it is a little too close to constructs like career decidedness for our liking, and
the word career is open to numerous interpretations (Arnold, 1997). We also felt that
PR
36,1
24
Fugate et al.’s analysis tended to mix up employability and its antecedents. We were
quite attracted to Hillage and Pollard’s (1998, p. 12) definition:
Employability is about the capability to move self-sufficiently within the labour market to
realise potential through sustainable employment.
However, we decided this was a little too multi-faceted and possibly too prescriptive,
with its references to “self-sufficiency” and “realising potential”. We therefore defined
employability as “the ability to keep the job one has or to get the job one desires.” This
definition incorporates aspects of future success (Van der Heijden, 2002), and of
maintaining one’s position (Iles, 1997). The reference to “job” is less ambiguous than
career.
The proposition that employability is built upon a number of attributes seems to be
widely accepted (Hillage and Pollard, 1998; Kirschenbaum and Mano-Negrin, 1999;
Tamkin and Hillage, 1999; Kluytmans and Ott, 1999; Lane et al., 2000; Rajan et al.,
2000). These attributes include knowledge and skills (Hillage and Pollard, 1998),
capacity for learning (Bagshaw, 1996; Lane et al., 2000), mastery of career management
and job search (Hillage and Pollard, 1998), and professional knowledge (Van der
Heijden, 2002). There is also some consensus around the notion of resilience (Iles, 1997;
Rajan, 1997; Rajan et al., 2000), analogous to personal efficacy and sometimes
measured in similar ways (Eades and Iles, 1998).
But employability is not only about individual attributes. Within-organisation
factors such as the current and predicted state(s) of internal labour markets are also
likely to affect employability as defined above. There are also external factors
including the state of the contemporary external labour market (Hillage and Pollard,
1998; Kirschenbaum and Mano-Negrin, 1999; Lane et al., 2000; Rajan et al., 2000). This
may also incorporate factors related to the demand for one’s occupation (Mallough and
Kleiner, 2001), as well as the individual attributes noted in the previous paragraph.
Indeed, the distinction between internal and external employability is frequently
discussed in the conceptual and theoretical literature (Hillage and Pollard, 1998;
Kirschenbaum and Mano-Negrin, 1999; Kluytmans and Ott, 1999; Lane et al., 2000;
Rajan et al., 2000; Tamkin and Hillage, 1999; Van der Heijden, 2002; Sanders and de
Grip, 2004). However, the empirical literature on employability is very limited, and it is
not clear whether the distinction between internal and external employability is
necessarily salient to individuals when considering their own position.
We were also concerned to establish whether employability is a distinct construct.
To this end, we selected two other constructs that we considered to be in the same
general area as employability, but also conceptually distinct from it, and thus able to
provide a good test of discriminant validity. According to De Vaus (2002, p. 30),
discriminant validity is based on the approach that if concepts are really different then
they will not correlate highly, and they will show up as separate factors in
multidimensional analyses. The first construct is subjective career success. This refers
to individuals’ satisfaction or otherwise with how well their career so far (not just their
present job) has met a range of criteria important to them (Bozionelos, 2004). This will
provide a strong test of our employability measure, because both constructs refer to
self-perception, and to a person’s position in labour markets. Indeed, employability is
sometimes thought of as the route to future career success (Bloch and Bates, 1995).
Where they might be expected to differ is that self-perceived employability is a current
Self-perceived
employability
25
assessment of one’s capacity to navigate the world of work in the future (especially
short-term), whereas subjective career success reflects current evaluation of an
accumulation of past experiences. Indeed, none of the subjective career success
measures uncovered in our literature review (Greenhaus et al., 1990, p. 86; Nabi, 1999,
p. 215) adequately referred to perceptions of future success. It is therefore reasonable to
expect self-perceived employability and subjective career success to be correlated, but
separable constructs.
Professional commitment is the extent to which a person feels a sense of attachment
and loyalty to his or her profession (Aranya et al., 1981). We might expect to find a
positive correlation between professional commitment and self-perceived
employability, to the extent that the profession is valued in internal and external
labour markets and to the extent that both constructs might reflect high involvement in
the work sphere. But commitment and employability are distinct constructs.
Commitment refers to a person’s psychological immersion in his or her profession,
whereas employability concerns a person’s capacity to manoeuvre effectively in labour
markets.
Another interest is the relationships between various demographic measures and
self-perceived employability. That is, assuming we can develop an adequate measure
of self-perceived employability, in what ways (if any) do groups of people differ on it?
For example, on the face of it, one might expect people at a high level in an organisation
to feel more employable than those at lower levels. On the other hand, they might feel
they are dangerously expensive, and that there are few opportunities for people at their
level of seniority. A few studies have found employability and age to be negatively
correlated (Neilsen, 1999; Van der Heijden, 2002), but the relationship might be more
complex than that for example, perhaps people feel most employable in early-mid
career, when they have achieved a fair amount, but are not “past it”. We expected
possession of a university degree, and of “fellowship” professional membership status
to act as human capital variables (Fugate et al., 2004) and to be positively associated
with employability. Finally, given the apparent disadvantage for women relative to
men in the labour market even after allowing for human capital differences (Stroh et al.,
1992), we expected that men would score higher on self-perceived employability than
women.
To summarise, then, our specific research aims and questions in relation to
employability are:
.
Systematically to construct a scale that measures self-perceived employability
for people for whom employment in an organisation is either a current reality or
a realistic prospect.
.
To examine the extent to which self-perceived employability is distinguishable
from self-perceived career success (H1a) and professional commitment (H1b). We
hypothesise that it will indeed be distinguishable from both the other constructs.
.
To identify what components of employability are discernible in the
respondents’ perceptions. We hypothesise (H2) that the internal vs external
labour market distinction will be apparent.
.
To report the psychometric properties of the employability scale(s) derived from
the sample’s perceptions.
PR
36,1
26
.
To identify which biographical and attitudinal variables are correlated with
self-perceived employability. We hypothesise (H3) that there will be significant
associations with age (older lower, H3a), gender (women lower, H3b),
educational achievement (graduates higher than non-graduates, H3c) and level
of professional membership (fellows higher than members, H3d ). We felt unable
to offer a firm hypothesis about position in the organisational hierarchy, so this
was left open as a research question.
Method
Development of the self-perceived employability scale
The lack of a satisfactory ready-to-use scale, and a desire to measure employability
based on the above conceptualisation, led us to develop a 16-item scale based
systematically on the four quadrants shown in Figure 1. In terms of job-getting and
job-keeping, we believed that the distinctions between internal vs external labour
markets and personal vs occupational attributes were likely to be the most analytically
useful (Hillage and Pollard, 1998; Mallough and Kleiner, 2001). However, our primary
interest was in the internal-external dimension because this has been most extensively
theorised in the literature.
In Figure 1, quadrant “a” represents individuals’ self-perceived valuation of their
own utility to their employing organisation. This means the valuation they believe the
organisation places on them as individuals. Quadrant “b” reflects how the organisation
values their occupation or occupational group in the internal labour market. Quadrant
“c” relates to individuals’ self-perception of their worth (based more on their personal
skills than features of their occupation) in the external labour market, while quadrant
“d” relates to perceptions of the external labour market’s valuation of people with the
individual’s occupational experience. This varies between occupations, and it can also
change over time. Van der Heijden (2002, p. 47) noted that “traditional functions can
lose their utility suddenly and often unexpectedly”, and this is certainly relevant to this
study because at present human resources professionals, the focus of this study, are
observing the outsourcing of many of their traditional functions.
We generated 16 items designed to reflect these four quadrants. These are shown in
appendix 1, where items designed to reflect internal employability are in italics.
Beyond that distinction, several others guided our item-generation. The most
prominent, as signalled by Figure 1, was personal attributes vs. occupational
Figure 1.
Two dimensions of
employability
Self-perceived
employability
27
attributes. We believe this distinction is implicit in much recent theorising about
employability (e.g. Fugate et al., 2004), but rarely brought to the fore. We consider it
important because one can expect that people with in-demand occupational training
and experience will need fewer personal skills to be employable than people whose
training and experience are less highly valued (Hall, 2004). We nevertheless
acknowledge that even experiences that are prescribed by an occupation (e.g. certain
kinds of training) are likely to produce, for some people, learning and development that
is somewhat specific to them.
Using as our main framework the two dimensions shown in Figure 1, we were
concerned to develop items that reflected aspects of employability identified in other
literature. These included:
.
skills and behaviours that contribute to effective performance (Hillage and
Pollard, 1998; Van der Heijden, 2002);
.
resilience, in the sense of being able to respond effectively to changing
circumstances (Rajan et al., 2000);
.
networks of contacts which provide information and support (Fugate et al., 2004);
and
.
job-seeking skills and labour-market knowledge (Hillage and Pollard, 1998).
Finally, we recognised that organisations differ one from another to varying degrees.
So amongst our external employability items we were also concerned to encompass
similar and dissimilar organisations to the respondent’s present one.
The 16 items shown in appendix 1 were presented to respondents in the order
shown. Items 1-4 reflected quadrant “a” in Figure 1 (for example: “I have good
prospects in this organisation because my employer values my personal contribution”).
Items 5-8 reflected quadrant “c”, and were placed directly after items 1-4 in order to
reduce the possibility that response set would artificially accentuate the
internal-external distinction. An example item is, “I could easily retrain to make
myself more employable elsewhere”. Items 9 and 10 reflected quadrant “b” (for
example: “among the people who do the same job as me, I am well respected in this
organisation”), and items 11-16 quadrant “d”. An example item here is, “if I needed to, I
could easily get another job like mine in a similar organisation”. Hence six items
referred to internal employability, and ten items referred to external employability.
Respondents were asked to respond to each of the 16 questions on a five-point scale,
with anchors strongly disagree (1) to strongly agree (5).
Other measures
Subjective career success was assessed with an eight-item scale derived from
Greenhaus et al. (1990) and Nabi (1999). In this study, its alpha internal reliability
coefficient was 0.88, and the response options were the same as for employability (see
above). Mean score (averaging across items) was 3.65, and standard deviation was 0.71.
The scale is included here as appendix 2. Overall the scale was believed to be relevant
to the aspirations and values of a professional sample, and their “subjective timetable”
how they expect their career success to map out over the course of their life. Note also
that items 3-8 (for example, “I am satisfied with the progress I have made towards
meeting my overall career goals”) all refer to present feelings about past
PR
36,1
28
accomplishments. Only items 1 and 2 refer entirely to the present situation (“I am in a
position to do mostly work which I really like”, “My job title is indicative of my
progress and my responsibility”), and even then the reference to progress in item 2
arguably invokes the past.
Professional commitment (PC) was measured using eight of the nine items from a
version of the nine-item affective organisational commitment items identified by Tsui
et al. (1997) as relating to affective commitment or emotional attachment. The
professional commitment scale was created by simply substituting the word
“profession” for “organisation”. One item “I talk up this profession to my friends as a
great profession to be associated with” was discarded, as it was intuitively felt to be
inappropriately worded for use with the sample identified, and in any case seemed to
replicate “I am proud to tell others that I am part of this profession”. One extra item
was added, this being the reverse-scored “often I find it difficult to agree with this
profession’s policies on important matters relating to its members”, as this could
indicate respondents’ attitudes to the CIPD’s CPD policies, which were also part of this
research. Items are shown in appendix 3. Response options were the same as for other
scales. In this study, the alpha internal reliability coefficient was 0.80. Mean score
(averaging the nine items) was 3.66 and the standard deviation was 0.59.
Level in the organisation was measured by asking respondents to indicate which of
six descriptors best described their position in the organisation. In abbreviated form,
the descriptors were, in descending order of seniority:
(1) Strategic decision-making.
(2) Senior management responsibility.
(3) Responsibility for work of others and organisational influence.
(4) First line management.
(5) Operational.
(6) Other.
While this was intended to represent a hierarchy-order, we acknowledge that these
terms may be open to some interpretation. However, the terms we used have the
advantage of being portable across organisational contexts.
Respondents were asked to specify their highest educational qualification. These
were many and varied, and we collapsed them into just two categories. Degree level or
above included all those who had a Bachelor degree, MBA, Masters or Doctoral
qualification. Sub-degree included all others, including those with Higher National
Diplomas or Certificates, and Diploma or Certificate in Management Studies.
Respondents were also asked to indicate their gender, and their age in years. A
further question aimed to tap how they viewed their employment situation, with
options full-time employment, part-time employment, taking a career break, portfolio
worker, self-employed, and other.
Procedure and sample
As part of a broader study on career development, 973 questionnaires were mailed to
corporate members (fellows and members) of the UK’s Chartered Institute of Personnel
and Development (CIPD) in the Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire branch area. The
study was endorsed by the local branch Chair. Questionnaires were sent to postal
Self-perceived
employability
29
addresses (usually home) held by the CIPD. Respondents were assured that the data
would not be reported in any way that could lead to their identification.
Replies were received from 234 people, giving an overall response rate of 24.1 per
cent. Because some respondents were not employed in an organisation, and some
others did not provide complete employability data, the analyses reported here were
based on exactly 200 respondents. All respondents were HR professionals. Power
analysis, following Green (1991), was undertaken, and assuming a moderate effect size
(given the untested nature of some of the variables employed in the study) the preferred
sample size was calculated at 163. Thus the sample was considered sufficient for
multivariate statistical analysis.
A total of 47 of the 200 participants were CIPD fellows, and 153 were members. A
total of 93 participants were men and 107 women. Age information was given by 189
respondents. Ages ranged from 26 to 67, with a mean of 44.3 and a standard deviation
of 8.7. A total of 108 participants indicated that they were qualified at degree level or
above, and the remaining 92 that they were not.
A total of 160 participants described themselves as being in full-time employment,
whilst 18 said they were part-time and 16 on a career break. Three described
themselves as portfolio workers, and three as “other”. A total of 74 reported that they
were at the strategic decision making level in their organisation, 37 each at the senior
management and influence levels, ten at first line management, and 16 at operational
level. A further 15 indicated “other”, and 11 gave no response.
Results
The distinctiveness of self-perceived employability vs subjective career success and
professional commitment
The self-perceived employability, career success and professional commitment items
were subjected to a principal components analysis (PCA) using the procedure outlined
in Pallant (2001, p. 157). Data were first tested for suitability for PCA. The correlation
matrix was inspected for correlation coefficients of 0.3 and above, which were found in
a substantial number of instances. The Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin measure of sampling
adequacy was 0.86, above the recommended value of 0.60 (Pallant, 2001, p. 161), and
the Bartlett’s test of sphericity was significant at p , 0.001. A three-factor solution
using varimax rotation was specified. The three rotated components accounted
respectively for 16.7, 16.2 and 11.7 per cent of the total variance.
The rotated solution is presented in Table I. It reveals substantial but not complete
initial support for the discriminant validity of the self-perceived employability items,
and therefore for H1. To a large extent, component 1 represents subjective career
success, component 2 self-perceived employability, and component 3 professional
commitment. The last of these seems to be a particularly distinct component, in the sense
that all but one of the professional commitment items loaded highly on it but none of the
employability or subjective career success items did so. The other professional
commitment item did not load highly on any of the three components. However, there
was moderate overlap between the self-perceived employability and subjective career
success items. Specifically, some employability items (1, 7, 10, 12 and 16: see appendix 1)
all had loadings of greater than 0.3 on component 1 as well as component 2. Nevertheless,
the designation of component 2 as representing self-perceived employability seems
fairly clear. All 16 employability items loaded on it at least 0.37. Loadings on component
2 for the 11 self-perceived employability items that did not load at 0.3 or greater on
component 1 ranged from 0.49 to 0.74. Because the ratio of items to respondents was only
PR
36,1
30
about 6.2:1, we also conducted a PCA using only the subjective career success and
self-perceived employability items. This improved the ratio to about 8.2:1. We specified a
two-component solution, and obtained loadings very similar to those shown in Table I
for components 1 and 2. The same five employability items were identified as “suspect”.
Results of this analysis are not shown here, but are available from the authors.
The structure of the self-perceived employability items
In order to minimise overlap between subjective career success and self-perceived
employability scales, we decided to remove from further consideration all five
self-perceived employability items with loadings of at least 0.30 on component 1. This
left four items designed to assess internal employability, and seven intended to assess
Item Component 1 Component 2 Component 3
SCS1 0.39
SCS2 0.52
SCS3 0.76
SCS4 0.87
SCS5 0.87
SCS6 0.73
SCS7 0.86
SCS8 0.60
EMP1 0.48 0.39
EMP2 0.58
EMP3 0.56
EMP4 0.49
EMP5 0.49
EMP6 0.57
EMP7 0.36 0.51
EMP8 0.56
EMP9 0.49
EMP10 0.48 0.37
EMP11 0.74
EMP12 0.45 0.49
EMP13 0.66
EMP14 0.65
EMP15 0.66
EMP16 0.36 0.50
PC1
PC2 0.49
PC3 0.78
PC4 0.75
PC5 0.81
PC6 0.67
PC7 0.52
PC8 0.57
PC9 0.62
Notes: Only loadings greater than 0.30 are shown; SCS ¼ subjective career success;
EMP ¼ self-perceived employability; PC ¼ professional commitment
Table I.
Varimax rotation of three
factor solution for the
employability, subjective
career success and
professional commitment
items
Self-perceived
employability
31
external employability. Inspection of the deleted items reveals that the two for which
loadings were higher on component 1 than component 2 (items 1 and 10) both referred
to being valued in the organisation that arguably reflects past success as well as
current employability. Item 16 also includes the word “valued”, and in any case is
somewhat convoluted. We found it more difficult to see why items 7 and 12 were more
problematic than the others. However, we decided that their content was sufficiently
reflected in some other items (e.g. 3, 14) to mean that their exclusion would not unduly
damage construct validity.
Descriptive statistics for the remaining eleven items are shown in Table II. Also
shown in Table II are the results of a principal components analysis of the 11 items,
with a two-component solution requested. As noted earlier, there is a theoretical
rationale (Hillage and Pollard, 1998; Rajan et al., 2000; Van der Heijden, 2002) for
pursuing the “two-factor” line of enquiry as this body of literature suggests that
employability may have two components: internal employability (relating to the
internal labour market) and external employability. The Kaiser-Mayer-Olkin value was
0.85 (above 0.60: Pallant, 2001, p. 157) and the Bartlett’s test of sphericity was
statistically significant at p , 0.001, supporting the factorability of the correlation
matrix. The rotated component matrix (Table II) revealed the presence of a relatively
simple structure with most items in the employability scale loading substantially
higher on one component than the other. The two rotated components explained 27.4
and 22.8 per cent of the total variance respectively.
The two components approximated to the internal vs external employability
distinction. Component 1 reflected external employability, with loadings of 0.49 to 0.70
for items 6, 8, 11, 13, 14 and 15, and 0.36 for item 5. These were all items intended to
reflect external employability. Component 2, reflecting internal employability, had
loadings of 0.53 to 0.81 for items written to reflect internal employability (2, 3, 4 and 9),
but also 0.48 for item 5 and 0.37 for item 14, which are both intended to assess external
employability. On the basis of these results, we decided to create subscales for internal
Item (see Appendix 1
for wording) Mean (SD)
Corrected item-total
correlation
Loading on
component 1
Loading on
component 2
2 3.48 (1.02) 0.56 0.71
3 3.59 (1.00) 0.48 0.81
4 3.65 (0.96) 0.46 0.73
5 4.08 (0.77) 0.49 0.36 0.48
6 3.60 (0.93) 0.46 0.49
8 3.30 (0.99) 0.46 0.57
9 3.97 (0.77) 0.44 0.53
11 3.29 (0.98) 0.63 0.83
13 2.86 (1.03) 0.50 0.78
14 3.50 (0.87) 0.59 0.61 0.37
15 3.27 (0.95) 0.55 0.70
Notes: Items 2, 3, 4 and 9 were designed to reflect internal employability, the others external
employability; Components derived from principal components analysis with varimax rotation. Only
loadings greater than 0.30 are shown; Corrected item-total correlations refer to the whole 11-item scale.
Equivalent statistics for the two sub-scales are available from the authors
Table II.
Item statistics for the
remaining eleven
self-perceived
employability items and
loadings on two
components
PR
36,1
32
and external employability. Item 5 was excluded from both subscales (but not from the
overall eleven-item employability scale) because of its moderate loading on both
components. Item 14 was included in the external employability subscale because it
loaded considerably more strongly on component 1 (0.61) than on component 2 (0.37).
Descriptive statistics and correlates of self-perceived employability
For the whole 11-item scale, the mean score (total score divided by 11) was 3.51 that
is, somewhat above the midpoint of the scale but not very far. Standard deviation was
moderate at 0.57. The mean of 3.30 for the six-item external employability scale was
highly statistically significantly lower than the mean of 3.69 and for the four-item
internal employability scale (t ¼ 7:55, df ¼ 199, p , 0:001). Inspection of Table II
reveals that mean scores on 8 of the 11 items were between 3.25 and 3.65, with standard
deviations around or a little under 1. There were however three moderate outliers.
Respondents tended to report a strong belief that their skills would transfer to other
occupations and organisations (item 5), and felt respected by their peers (item 9). On the
other hand, they were much less sure about whether they could get a similar job to
their present one in almost any kind of organisation (item 11).
Table III also shows that all the scales had means slightly above the midpoint, and
standard deviations of moderate size. All internal reliabilities were above 0.7 (alphas
for the 11-item scale was 0.83, for internal employability 0.72, and for external
employability 0.79). This bodes well for our self-perceived employability measures,
because people’s scores appear to be reliable, to vary between individuals and to show
no major floor or ceiling effects. The internal reliability of all scales used in this study
was good, and in the case of the self-perceived employability scales and subscales
could not be improved by the removal of any item. Also good news for our
employability scale and subscales is that their correlations with subjective career
success and professional commitment are all no higher than moderate, ranging from
0.25 to 0.41. Furthermore, although the 11-item self-perceived employability scale
demonstrates good psychometric properties, the internal and external employability
subscales correlate only at 0.48. We tentatively conclude that this justifies assessing
self-perceived employability either as one construct or as two, according to the
purposes of assessment. We also conclude that our H1 and H2 are supported:
self-perceived employability is a distinguishable construct, and the internal vs external
distinction is also demonstrable.
For men, the mean overall self-perceived employability score was 3.41, and for
women it was 3.59. This difference was statistically significant (t ¼ 2:29, df ¼ 198,
p , 0:05). The difference was mainly due to external employability (men ¼ 3:18,
Mean SD 1 2 3 4 5
1 Overall self-perceived employability (11 items) 3.51 0.57 0.83
2 Internal self-perceived employability (four items) 3.67 0.70 0.80 0.72
3 External self-perceived employability (six items) 3.30 0.67 0.91 0.48 0.79
4 Subjective career success (eight items) 3.69 0.71 0.41 0.37 0.32 0.88
5 Professional commitment (nine items) 3.66 0.58 0.32 0.31 0.25 0.27 0.80
Notes: All mean scores are based on a 1 (low) to 5 (high) scale. Alpha reliability coefficients on the
diagonal
Table III.
Scale descriptive
Statistics and
inter-correlations
Self-perceived
employability
33
women ¼ 3:40, t ¼ 2:30; df ¼ 198, p , 0:05). Internal employability mean scores were
3.59 and 3.75 for men and women respectively, which was not statistically significant
(t ¼ 1:62, df ¼ 198, p ¼ 0:11). We therefore conclude that H3b was not supported.
Age showed a statistically significant negative correlation with overall
self-perceived employability (r ¼ 20:23, p , 0:01). This trend was more marked for
external than internal employability (internal r ¼ 20:16, p , 0:05; external
r ¼ 20:23, p , 0:01). Non-linear relationships between age and self-perceived
employability were investigated by dividing respondents into age groups (, 34,
35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55 þ ) and comparing means. The youngest age group
showed the highest mean overall employability (3.76), and the oldest group the lowest
(3.22). In a one-way analysis of variance, there was a significant between-group effect
for overall self-perceived employability (F ¼ 2:75, df ¼ 5:185, p , 0:05). Scheffe
post-hoc paired comparisons showed that the youngest and oldest groups differed
significantly, but no other pair of groups was significantly different. Again, this was
primarily due to external rather than internal employability (full details available from
the authors). The analysis suggested no non-linear relationship between age and
self-perceived employability, therefore, H3a was supported.
Respondents with a degree scored slightly but not significantly lower on overall
employability than those without (means 3.45 and 3.57 respectively). The same pattern
also held for both internal and external employability. Therefore, H3c was not
supported. Perhaps surprisingly, mean employability scores for the full-time and
part-time employees were virtually identical (3.53 and 3.60, respectively). The mean
score for those on a career break was 3.33, which was lower than, but non-significantly
different from, the full-time and part-time employees. The mean overall self-perceived
employability scores for CIPD fellows (3.46) and members (3.52) were very similar.
There were no significant differences between the two groups on the full scale or on
either subscale. Therefore, H3d was not supported.
Self-perceived employability was moderately related to organisational level. The
higher in the organisation a respondent was, the more he or she tended to feel
employable. The correlation between organisational level (excluding the “other”
category) and overall employability was 0.19 ( p , 0.05).
Of course, some of the demographic variables were correlated with each other (for
example, men were older on average than women in our sample), so some of the
bivariate relationships described above were difficult to interpret. In order to provide a
comprehensive examination of the independent impact of the demographic variables
on self-perceived employability, we conducted multiple regression analyses using as
criteria the overall employability scale and then each of the two sub-scales. This
comprehensive analysis reflected the relatively untested nature of the relationships
and the exploratory nature of this research in respect of the employability scale. The
predictor variables were gender (scored 1 ¼ male, 2 ¼ female), organisational level
(scored 1-5, with 5 being the highest level), age (in years), qualification level (1 ¼ no
degree, 2 ¼ degree or equivalent), and CIPD membership level (1 ¼ member,
2 ¼ fellow). Missing data on one or more variables (mainly organisational level and
age) reduced the sample size to 165 for this analysis.
Results of the regression analyses are shown in Table IV. They are similar for both
types of self-perceived employability, and consequently for overall self-perceived
employability as well. The predictors collectively explained statistically significant
PR
36,1
34
amounts of variance (up to about 10 per cent) in self-perceived employability scores.
Level in the organisation was strongly positively related to self-perceived
employability, especially internal. Age was statistically significantly negatively
related to overall and external self-perceived employability. Being a graduate showed
approached but did not reach statistically significant negative associations with
overall and external employability. Gender and CIPD membership level had no
discernible statistical relationship with self-perceived employability, once the other
predictor variables were accounted for.
Overall, then, the statistical relationships between self-perceived employability and
demographic variables provide only very limited support for H3. As predicted, age
showed some negative association with employability. However, once age had been
taken into account, gender was not associated with employability, and nor was level of
professional membership. The effect of educational attainment approached but did not
reach statistical significance, and was in the opposite direction to that hypothesised.
Discussion
In this paper we have reported on the development, initial validation, and
dimensionality of a scale of self-perceived employability. We have also examined its
relationships with subjective career success, professional commitment and
demographic variables. Our sample of HR professionals was believed to be
relatively free of perceived organisational dependence, and thus quite likely to have
a positive perception of their prospects in the contemporary labour market, both inside
and outside their present employer. In this section we summarise our findings, consider
the practical and theoretical implications of the scale development, and propose an
agenda for future research.
The 11-item measure of self-perceived employability was based on an analysis of
the different elements of employability likely to be relevant to individuals. The overall
scale showed a high internal reliability and the scale reliability could not have been
improved by deletion of any of the items. There was also encouraging evidence that
self-perceived overall employability is separable from, though correlated with,
subjective career success and professional commitment. We suggest that subjective
career success relates to an individual’s perceptions of their past and present, such as
Predictor Overall employability Internal employability External employability
Organisational level 0.25
***
0.27
***
0.16
**
Graduate or equivalent 2 0.15
*
2 0.10 2 0.16
*
Gender 0.03 0.00 0.05
CIPD membership level 0.02 0.03 0.02
Age 2 0.22
*
2 0.14 2 0.22
**
Multiple R 0.33 0.29 0.28
Adjusted R
2
0.08 0.06 0.05
F for overall equation 3.83
***
2.99
**
2.80
**
Notes: Significance levels:
*
p , 0.1;
**
p , 0.05;
**
p , 0.01; Overall employability measure is the 11
items indicated in Table II; Internal employability is items 2, 3, 4 and 9; External employability is items
6, 8, 11, 13, 14 and 15
Table IV.
Beta weights of
demographic predictors
of the self-perceived
employability
Self-perceived
employability
35
how they feel they are doing up to now in relation to their “subjective timetable”, while
employability relates to their perceptions of the present and future, in that it concerns
their self perceptions of how well they expect to be able to deal with a number of
circumstances that may present themselves in the future, whether positive (e.g.
promotion, selection processes) or negative (e.g. redundancy, downsizing).
Nevertheless, we must be cautious in treating self-perceived employability as a
unitary construct. A two-factor solution produced a fairly clear split between items
reflecting internal (i.e. within-organisation) and external employability. All but one of
the eleven items clearly fell one way or the other, and in the direction they were
designed to. This gives valuable empirical support to conceptual and theoretical
literature on this distinction (Hillage and Pollard, 1998; Kirschenbaum and
Mano-Negrin, 1999; Kluytmans and Ott, 1999; Lane et al., 2000; Rajan et al., 2000;
Tamkin and Hillage, 1999; Van der Heijden, 2002). The majority of items in our overall
self-perceived employability scale refer to external employability, so the overall score
reflects that more strongly than internal employability. Instinctively one tends to think
that equal numbers of items would be better, but of course there is no universal reason
why the two forms of employability are of equal importance in any given setting.
Our general conclusion here is that the self-perceived employability scale can
legitimately be used either as one whole scale, or as two separate ones, depending on
the purpose of the research or other activity. In some investigations of (for example)
downsizing or specialist organisations relatively isolated from wider labour markets, it
may be very useful to contrast internal and external employability. This may also be
true in career development and guidance, where we also think that our measure might
be a useful diagnostic tool. Most people who consult careers counsellors are seeking to
shape their career given where they are now, rather than choosing an occupation
(Nathan and Hill, 1992). Scale or even item responses may help both counsellor and
client focus on issues perceived as most pressing.
The not very high correlation (0.48) between internal and external employability in
this study may reflect some similarity of evaluative criteria between organisations for
human resource skills. On the other hand, although the respondents in this study were
moderately optimistic about their employability, this was more the case for internal
than external employability. This may reflect a tendency for HR professionals still to
be focussing mainly on an organisational career rather than a boundaryless one
(Arthur and Rousseau, 1996). It could also mean that information about
within-organisation prospects is easier to come by, and perceived to be more reliable
than external information. In one sense, this might be considered a “fact of life”.
However, it could also be argued that a skilled networker and boundaryless careerist
would ensure that external information was just as complete as internal, and external
employability was as good as, if not better than, internal employability.
The item statistics for the employability scale are encouraging in several senses.
Item and whole-scale standard deviations are high enough to indicate substantial
though not huge variation between individuals. The corrected item-total correlations
indicate a fairly substantial contribution from each item to the overall employability
scale. However there is scope to refine some of the individual items. For example, the
item with the second highest item-total correlation is item 14 “anyone with my level of
skills and knowledge, and similar job and organisational experience, will be highly
sought after by employers”. Although designed to reflect external employability
PR
36,1
36
(which it does), it is wide-ranging in scope, referring to multiple individual attributes,
experiences, and also multiple employers. While it appears to reflect a lot of what
employability is about, at least on our definition, it might be considered too generic to
inform careers interventions. Thus we acknowledge that while the scale, as tested, has
excellent potential and is an improvement on existing measures in the field, there is
scope for further refinement.
The development of new scales invariably involves some judgement calls. It might
be argued that we should have retained items 7, 12 and 16 because they loaded more
highly on the self-perceived employability component than on the subjective career
success component (see Table I). However, given the scope and number of remaining
items, we decided that minimising overlap with other variables was preferable to item
retention. It is noteworthy that the two items that loaded more highly on the subjective
career success component than the self-perceived employability component (1 and 10)
refer explicitly to being valued, and people may form a judgement about this on the
basis of the recognition they have already been accorded, hence the link with career
success. Also noteworthy is the fact that both of these items refer to internal
employability, perhaps again hinting that career success for these human resources
professionals is more organisationally driven than we had originally expected. Future
research might extend our understanding of the relationships between organisational
attachments, subjective career success and self-perceived employability by including
variables like organisational identification (Van Dick et al., 2004).
The relationships between demographic variables and self-perceived employability
were weak on the whole. This signals that perceived employability is a construct based
mainly on factors other than on age or formal qualifications. This is what one might
expect in labour markets said to be dominated by demonstrable transferable skills and
experiences. However, level attained in the organisation did have a consistently
significant relationship with employability. People at high levels believed they were
more employable than people at low levels. Future research might explore why this is.
On the face of it, there are fewer senior positions than junior ones, so one might expect
that perceived external employability could be more of an issue for senior people than
junior ones, unless of course they are willing to accept lower status jobs. On the other
hand, senior people may feel they have built up a good reputation and set of skills and
experiences that will make them both valuable in their current job and attractive to
alternative employers. It is important to note here that “senior” refers to position rather
than age. The regression analyses showed that, once organisational level had been
accounted for, older people tended to be slightly less confident about their
employability than younger ones.
The finding that non-graduates felt slightly more employable than graduates is
perhaps counter-intuitive. It may suggest that some graduates have taken on board
fears that the expansion of higher education may be leading to too many graduates
competing for too few “graduate jobs” (for recent contrasting views on this, see a recent
press report by Hill, 2004). At any rate, this finding, plus the absence of an
employability advantage for CIPD Fellows over Members, suggests that educational
and professional qualifications per se are not contributing to HR professionals’
perceptions of their position in the labour market.
To conclude, this research has begun to address the gap in the literature for a
psychometrically sound conceptualisation of self-perceived individual employability
Self-perceived
employability
37
(Pascale, 1995; Garavan, 1999; Rajan et al., 2000). It offers the potential for refinement of
a more robust measure than the related empirical research (Van der Heijden, 2002).
There is very substantial potential for further development of the main scale and
subscales, for replication with other occupational groups, for between-groups
comparisons, and for longitudinal study. We believe that the scale now needs to be
used, and possibly refined through confirmatory factor analysis, with other
occupational samples. This would both provide information about those
occupations, and enable tests of the properties of our scale in diverse settings. We
intend to make a start on this, and we would also welcome enquiries from other
researchers and practitioners.
References
Aranya, N., Pollack, J. and Amernic, J. (1981), “An examination of professional commitment in
public accounting”, Accounting, Organizations and Society, Vol. 6, pp. 271-80.
Arnold, J. (1997), Managing Careers into the 21st Century, Paul Chapman Publishing, London.
Arthur, M.B. (1994), “The boundaryless career: a new perspective for organizational enquiry”,
Journal of Organizational Behavior, Vol. 15, pp. 295-306.
Arthur, M.B. and Rousseau, D.M. (1996), “A career lexicon for the 21st century”, Academy of
Management Executive, Vol. 10 No. 4, pp. 28-39.
Bagshaw, M. (1996), “Creating employability: how can training and development square the
circle between individual and corporate interest?”, Industrial and Commercial Training,
Vol. 28 No. 1, pp. 16-18.
Baruch, Y. (1998), “The rise and fall of organizational commitment”, Human Systems
Management, Vol. 17 No. 2, pp. 135-43.
Bird, A. (1994), “Careers as repositories of knowledge: a new perspective on boundaryless
careers”, Journal of Organizational Behavior, Vol. 15, pp. 325-44.
Bloch, S. and Bates, T. (1995), Employability: Your Way to Career Success, Kogan Page, London.
Bozionelos, N. (2004), “The relationship between disposition and career success: a British study”,
Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, Vol. 77, pp. 403-20.
De Vaus, D. (2002), Analyzing Social Science Data: Fifty Key Problems in Data Analysis, Sage,
London.
Eades, E. and Iles, P. (1998), “Employability and career self-reliance, towards a measure of
resilience”, paper presented at the British Academy of Management Conference,
Nottingham.
Fugate, M., Kinicki, A.J. and Ashforth, B.E. (2004), “Employability: a psycho-social construct, its
dimensions, and applications”, Journal of Vocational Behavior, Vol. 65, pp. 14-38.
Garavan, T.N. (1999), “Employability: the emerging new deal”, Journal of European Industrial
Training, Vol. 23 No. 1, pp. 1-5.
Green, S.B. (1991), “How many subjects does it take to do a regression analysis?”, Multivariate
Behavioural Research, Vol. 26 No. 3, pp. 499-510.
Greenhaus, J.H., Parasuraman, S. and Wormley, W.M. (1990), “Effects of race on organizational
experiences, job performance evaluations, and career outcomes”, Academy of Management
Journal, Vol. 33 No. 1, pp. 64-86.
Hall, D.T. (2004), “The protean career: a quarter-century journey”, Journal of Vocational
Behavior, Vol. 65, pp. 1-13.
PR
36,1
38
Herriot, P. and Pemberton, C. (1996), “Contracting careers”, Human Relations, Vol. 49 No. 6,
pp. 757-89.
Hill, P. (2004), “Graduates face two-tier jobs market”, The Times Higher Education Supplement,
June 18.
Hillage, J. and Pollard, E. (1998), “Employability: developing a framework for policy analysis”,
research report RR85, Institute for Employment Studies, DfEE, Brighton.
Iles, P. (1997), “Sustainable high potential career development: a resource-based view”, Career
Development International, Vol. 2 No. 7, pp. 347-53.
Kirschenbaum, A. and Mano-Negrin, R. (1999), “Underlying labour market dimensions of
‘opportunities’: the case of employee turnover”, Human Relations, Vol. 52 No. 10,
pp. 1233-55.
Kluytmans, F. and Ott, M. (1999), “The management of employability in The Netherlands”,
European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, Vol. 8 No. 2, pp. 261-72.
Lane, D., Puri, A., Cleverly, P., Wylie, R. and Rajan, A. (2000), Employability: Bridging the Gap
Between Rhetoric and Reality; Seco nd Report: Employee’s Perspective,Create
Consultancy/Professional Development Foundation, London.
Mallough, S. and Kleiner, B.H. (2001), “How to determine employability and wage earning
capacity”, Management Research News, Vol. 24 Nos 3/4, pp. 118-22.
Nabi, G.R. (1999), “An investigation into the differential profile of predictors of objective and
subjective career success”, Career Development International, Vol. 4 No. 4, pp. 212-24.
Nathan, R. and Hill, L. (1992), Career Counselling, Sage, London.
Neilsen, J. (1999), “Employability and workability amongst Danish employees”, Experimental
Ageing Research, Vol. 25, pp. 393-7.
Pallant, J. (2001), SPSS Survival Manual: A Step by Step Guide to Data Analysis using SPSS for
Windows, Open University Press, London.
Pascale, R. (1995), “In search of the new employment contract”, Human Resources,
November/December, pp. 21-6.
Pieperl, M. and Baruch, Y. (1997), “Back to square zero, the post-corporate career”,
Organizational Dynamics, Vol. 25 No. 4, pp. 7-23.
Rajan, A. (1997), “Employability in the finance sector: rhetoric vs reality”, Human Resource
Management Journal, Vol. 7 No. 1, pp. 67-78.
Rajan, A., Van Eupen, P., Chapple, K. and Lane, D. (2000), Employability: Bridging the Gap
Between Rhetoric and Reality’, First Report: Employer’s Perspective,Create
Consultancy/Professional Development Foundation, London.
Rousseau, D.M. (1995), Psychological Contracts in Organizations: Understanding Written and
Unwritten Agreements, Sage, Thousand Oaks, CA.
Rousseau, D.M. (2001), “Schema, promise and mutuality: the building blocks of the psychological
contract”, Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, Vol. 74 No. 4, pp. 511-42.
Sanders, J. and de Grip, A. (2004), “Training, task flexibility and the employability of low-skilled
workers”, International Journal of Manpower, Vol. 25 No. 1, pp. 73-89.
Sparrow, P.R. (1996), “Transitions in the psychological contract: some evidence from the banking
sector”, Human Resource Management Journal, Vol. 6 No. 4, pp. 75-92.
Stroh, L.K., Brett, J.M. and Reilly, A.H. (1992), “All the right stuff: a comparison of male and
female managers’ career progression”, Journal of Applied Psychology, Vol. 77, pp. 251-60.
Tamkin, P. and Hillage, J. (1999), Employability and Employers: the Missing Piece of the Jigsaw,
The Institute for Employment Studies, Brighton.
Self-perceived
employability
39
Thijssen, J.G.L. (1997), “Employability en employment: Terminologie, modelvorning en
opleidingspraktijk”, Opleiding en Ontwikkeling, Vol. 10 No. 10, pp. 9-14.
Tsui, A.S., Pearce, J.L. and Tripoli, A.M. (1997), “Alternative approaches to the
employee-organisation relationship: does investment in employees pay off?”, Academy
of Management Journal, Vol. 40 No. 5, pp. 1089-121.
Van Dam, K. (2004), “Antecedents and consequences of employability orientation”, European
Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, Vol. 13 No. 1, pp. 29-51.
Van der Heijden, B. (2002), “Pre-requisites to guarantee life-long employability”, Personnel
Review, Vol. 31, pp. 44-61.
Van Dick, R., Wagner, U., Stellmacher, J. and Christ, O. (2004), “The utility of a broader
conceptualization of organizational identification: which aspects really matter?”, Journal of
Occupational and Organizational Psychology, Vol. 77, pp. 171-91.
Appendix 1. The original 16 self perceived individual employability items
(1) I have good prospects in this organisation because my employer values my personal
contribution.
(2) Even if there was downsizing in this organisation I am confident that I would be
retained.
(3) My personal networks in this organisation help me in my career.
(4) I am aware of the opportunities arising in this organisation even if they are different to
what I do now.
(5) The skills I have gained in my present job are transferable to other occupations outside
this organisation.
(6) I could easily retrain to make myself more employable elsewhere.
(7) I can use my professional networks and business contacts to develop my career.
(8) I have a good knowledge of opportunities for me outside of this organisation even if they
are quite different to what I do now.
(9) Among the people who do the same job as me, I am well respected in this organisation.
(10) People who do the same job as me who work in this organisation are valued highly.
(11) If I needed to, I could easily get another job like mine in a similar organisation.
(12) People who do a job like mine in organisations similar to the one I presently work in are
really in demand by other organisations.
(13) I could easily get a similar job to mine in almost any organisation.
(14) Anyone with my level of skills and knowledge, and similar job and organisational
experience, will be highly sought after by employers.
(15) I could get any job, anywhere, so long as my skills and experience were reasonably
relevant.
(16) People with my kind of job-related experience are very highly valued in their
organisation and outside whatever sort of organisation they have previously worked in.
Key: items intended to reflect:
.
internal employability; and
.
external employability.
PR
36,1
40
Appendix 2. Subjective career success scale items
(1) I am in a position to do mostly work which I really like.
(2) My job title is indicative of my progress and my responsibility in the organisation.
(3) I am pleased with the promotions I have received so far.
(4) I am satisfied with the success I have achieved in my career.
(5) I am satisfied with the progress I have made towards meeting my overall career goals.
(6) I am satisfied with the progress I have made toward meeting my goals for income.
(7) I am satisfied with the progress I have made toward meeting my goals for advancement.
(8) I am satisfied with the progress I have made toward meeting my goals for the
development of new skills.
Appendix 3. Professional commitment scale items
(1) I am willing to put in a great deal of effort beyond that normally expected in order to help
make my profession successful.
(2) I would accept almost any type of job assignment in order to keep working in areas that
are associated with this profession.
(3) I find that my values and my profession’s values are very similar.
(4) I am proud to tell others that I am part of this profession.
(5) Being a member of this profession really inspires the best in me in the way of job
performance.
(6) I am extremely glad I chose this profession over others I was considering at the time I
joined.
(7) Often, I find it difficult to agree with this profession’s policies on important matters
relating to its members.
(8) I really care about the fate of this profession.
(9) For me this is he best of all professions to be a member of.
About the authors
Andrew Rothwell is Head of the Combined Subject Programme at the University of Derby, UK.
His research interests include employability, continuing professional development, and
international management education and training. Andrew Rothwell is the corresponding
author and can be contacted at: a.t.rothwell@derby.ac.uk
John Arnold is Professor of Organisational Behaviour at Loughborough University, UK. His
research interests include most aspects of career choice, development and management, and he
has published extensively in these and other areas. John is editor of Journal of Occupational and
Organizational Psychology and lead author of the successful textbook Work Psychology,
published by Pearson Education and now in its fourth edition.
Self-perceived
employability
41
To purchase reprints of this article please e-mail: reprints@emeraldinsight.com
Or visit our web site for further details: www.emeraldinsight.com/reprints
... Mindfulness can also help employees maintain high engagement and efficiency in work, and is a skill for coping with work stress [48]. Specifically, mindfulness can reduce the uncertainty and anxiety caused by stress, and relieve employees' emotional exhaustion [47,49]. Regarding COVID-19 risk perception, high-mindfulness employees are committed to solving current events through effective self-regulation, and could be more likely to face the emotional exhaustion caused by risks at work in a positive state [42]. ...
... Perceived employability was measured with a scale developed by Bothwell et al. [49] and the Cronbach's α coefficient in this study was 0.855. Sample items include: "Even if there was downsizing in this organization, I am confident that I would be retained", "My personal networks in this organization help me in my career". ...
Full-text available
Article
This study aims to investigate the levels of COVID-19 risk perception (CVRP), job insecurity (JI), and emotional exhaustion (EE) among Chinese hospitality employees to examine the mediating effect of JI on the relationship between CVRP and EE. The moderating role of employee mindfulness (MF) and perceived employability (PE) have also be examined. Data were collected from 652 hospitality employees in Shandong and Jiangsu Province, China. We used structural equation modeling (SEM) to test the hypothesized relationship among the variables. Significant relationships were found between hospitality employees’ CVRP and EE (β = 0.103, p < 0.01), CVRP and JI (β = 0.168, p < 0.001), and JI and EE (β = 0.378, p < 0.001). According to the results, the higher level of the CVRP of hospitality employees, the higher level of the EE. In addition, results showed mediating effects of JI on the relationship between CVRP and EE. This study also found that MF buffered the positive relationship between CVRP and EE. Therefore, in the era of COVID-19, an effective support system at the organizational level is necessary to reduce JI and EE of hospitality employees.
... The relationship between perceived employability and educational attainment level has been examined by previous studies. For example, Rothwell and Arnold (2007) found that there was no significant relationship between educational attainment level and perceived employability. However, Drange et al. (2018) found that perceived employability was positively related to educational level. ...
Article
In this study, we explore the perceived employability and ambition of student veterans, compare the perceived employability and ambition of student veterans and civilian students, and examine the impact of other variables (e.g., age, gender, GPA, etc.) on student veterans' perceived employability and ambition. An online survey was conducted among 85 students, including 37 veterans and 48 civilian students. The results show that most of the investigated student veterans were confident in their employability and future career success. In addition, student veterans had slightly lower perceived employability and ambition than either active military members or civilian students. The result of descriptive analysis showed clues that explained how other variables impacted the perceived employability and ambition of student veterans.
... La empleabilidad es aún, para la literatura científica, objeto de debate y de construcción de modelos teóricos. Y es que todavía no contamos con una definición unánime sobre el concepto y sus dimensiones constitutivas (Rothwell y Arnold, 2007). De forma general, la empleabilidad se describe como una forma de adaptación proactiva al trabajo que permite a los individuos identificar las oportunidades profesionales y ser conscientes de sus propias potencialidades a la hora de mantener el empleo o conseguir el trabajo deseado. ...
Full-text available
Article
El difícil panorama socioeconómico que se augura tras la crisis sanitaria es ya una realidad para muchos/as jóvenes. En este contexto, el objetivo del estudio es analizar las dimensiones que determinan la empleabilidad de la juventud a fin de identificar los pilares de actuación que, con carácter político, sociolaboral y educativo, contribuyen a mejorar su desarrollo personal y profesional. Para ello, se ha seguido una metodología cualitativa centrada en la revisión de informes, estrategias e investigaciones sobre el empleo juvenil desde la Gran Recesión hasta la crisis del COVID-19 (2008-2022). Se han diferenciado tres ejes de intervención: (1) protección y promoción del empleo, (2) mejora de la empleabilidad y (3) medidas transversales. Los resultados advierten de la necesidad de avanzar, desde las políticas públicas, en el segundo y tercero de los ejes, toda vez que posibilitan la promoción de transiciones laborales eficaces.
... These show that joint responsibility between university and student to develop career management skills increases student proactivity regarding their own job insertion. Rothwell and Arnold (2007) define employability as the ability to use acquired competencies to hold down a job or obtain one's preferred job. These competencies include individual values such as honesty, time-management skills, self-confidence, creative thinking, and decision-making (Rae, 2007;Dacre Pool and Sewell, 2007) as well as adaptability, an entrepreneurial mentality, analytical skills, and an acceptance of responsibilities (Bennett, 2012). ...
Article
In this paper we evaluate and confirm the effectiveness of including curriculum training on career management as a component of university studies. The behaviour of the students in this study was modified by the uncertainty created by the crisis in the labour market due to the pandemic.Our results confirm that universities need to develop the generic and academic skills demanded by the labour market in order to provide their students with comprehensive training while also taking joint responsibility for developing their students’ career management skills.
... Career self-efficacy was measured using an 11-item measure developed by Kossek et al. (1998) and recently validated by (Ye et al., 2018). Employability will be measured with an 11-item scale developed by Rothwell and Arnold (2007). Four items show internal employability, whereas seven are related to external employability. ...
Full-text available
Article
Mentoring at its best is a life-altering relationship, and mentors play a pivotal role in protégé career upward progression. In a dynamic labor market, securing internal employability and also finding a better opportunity outside the organization that matched interests and skills are critical factors for individual career advancement. In line with this, the existing study probed to investigate the linkage between mentoring functions (traditional and relational) and protégé perceived employability (internal and external) through the mediation of protégé career self-efficacy. In line with this, the data were collected from 373 staff working in conventional and Islamic banks in Pakistan. Data were analyzed through PLS-SEM. The finding shows that mentoring functions (traditional and relational) were directly associated with protégé employability. Likewise, the results also indicate that protégé career self-efficacy mediates the proposed path. In the current study, both traditional and relational mentoring functions are investigated as the antecedent of career self-efficacy and perceived employability contributes to the existing literature.
... These definitions translate employability into an outcome of individual employment (McArdle et al., 2007). Employability has also been defined as an individual's adaptability and resilience to cope with changes in the immediate work environment and labour market at large (Fugate et al., 2004;Rajan et al., 2000;Rothwell and Arnold, 2007). Researchers treating employability as a matter of chance define it as a probability of getting employed and of survival in the labour market (Forrier and Sels, 2003;Thijssen et al., 2008). ...
Article
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to review empirical research on the measurement of employability, conducted in a 23-year period from 2000 to 2022. Design/methodology/approach A systematic and extensive search of the literature was conducted to select a set of studies that fit the inclusion criteria and addressed the research questions. These studies were conducted worldwide and published anytime from 2000 to 2022. The process of data extraction involved a tabulation of common themes across the studies. Thereafter, the data from the studies were analysed and interpreted to arrive at the findings. Findings The findings of this paper show variations in the measures of employability with respect to location, data points, domains and indicators of employability applied. Based on the type of indicators of employability applied, the studies can be categorised as those applying subjective indicators, objective indicators or a combination of the two. Research limitations/implications The paper observed that there has been a great focus on measuring employability using subjective indicators. However, in order to help individuals face the unpredictability of fractious labour markets, going ahead, this measure will not be sufficient. Empirical research needs to focus on applying holistic measures of employability combining both subjective and objective indicators. Originality/value This paper presents a detailed categorisation of measures of employability. Thereby, the paper provides useful insights to help practitioners choose a suitable measure of employability for future studies. The paper also makes a case for widening the scope of present measures to apply the construct of employability effectively.
... (2015), Europian Commission. (2015, High Fliers Research (2014), Rothwell & Arnold (2007), Laura, et.al. (2015), Hadiyanto and Suratno (2015), Sin, et.al. ...
Full-text available
Chapter
Buku-buku metode penilitian dan pengembangan telah banyak diterbitkan dan dijadikan rujukan dan pedoman oleh para peneliti. Metode-metode penelitian dan pengembangan telah diadopsi dan diadaptasi pada pelakasanaan peneltian sesuai bidang, fokus, cakupan dan kebutuhan penelitian. Namun demikian, masih langkah paparan sebuah proses penelitian dan pengembangan dilaksanakan dari tahap ke tahap dan langkah langkah dipaparkan secara gamblang. Oleh karena itu, tulisan di bab ini bertujuan untuk memberikan deskripisi secara lugas tentang tahapan dan langkah dalam menghasilkan sebuah model, konsep atau teori yang valid dan terpercaya dalam ilmu ilmu sosial. Misalnya dalam pengembangan model pembelajaran, model kesejahteraan pegawai/masyarakat, dan model pembangunan karakter bangsa dan lain-lain. Sehingga model dapat diterapkan dalam memperbaiki tatanan pendidikan, sosial dan budaya. Secara khusus, tulisan ilmiah ini memaparkan proses peneltian dan pengembangan secara ringkas, implimentatif dan praktis dalam pengembangan model soft skills, hard skills dan competitiveness lulusan sebuah universitas. Diharap ringkasan pelaksanaan peneltian dan pengembangan ini dapat memberikan pencerahan bagi para peneliti khususnya dalam pengembangan sebuah model terapan.
Chapter
Youth unemployment is a major challenge for economic policy makers around the world, especially in developing countries. In developing countries, the role of HEI is to produce employable graduates, which will directly affect the improvement of the level of human capital. Higher Educational Institutions (HEI) have a main role to produce employable graduates who, with their skills and knowledge, will have optimal integration in the labor market. The main goal of this research is to determine the basic determinants that affect the employability of students. This study was conducted among students of Faculty of Economics - Skopje, who are in the final year of their studies. Well-structured questions in the questionnaire distributed provided a solid basis for gathering demographic information and economic characteristics of respondents, as well as their average grade and outlook for the future. Student self-perception of employability is largely relied upon for most of the information. In the study, results indicate that obtaining employment during the study is positively correlated with employability after graduation. Results indicate that students who successfully integrate themselves into the labor market during their studies are significantly more likely to be employed immediately after graduation. Students who come from families with a higher income experience a higher degree of integration into the labor market. Hence, it can be concluded that the level of household income has a statistically significant positive influence on the degree of integration of graduates in the labor market.KeywordsGraduate employabilityDeterminants of employabilityHigher educational institutions and employability
Article
Espoleados por los numerosos escándalos que algunas multinacionales han generado a causa de sus comportamientos poco éticos (casos paradigmáticos serían los de ENRON o Arthur Andersen), los investigadores se han afanado con especial intensidad en los últimos diez años en intentar responder a una pregunta sólo aparentemente sencilla: ¿qué causa la aparición de comportamientos no éticos entre los trabajadores de las empresas, y qué podemos hacer para prevenir esas transgresiones? La extensísima literatura alrededor de este fenómeno es la mejor prueba de que desenmarañar los antecedentes de la falta de ética en las organizaciones es algo complejo, y a esa línea de trabajo hemos intentado contribuir con esta investigación. Tras revisar la literatura hemos comprobado que las prácticas de recursos humanos encaminadas a potenciar el aprendizaje organizativo, tan de moda hoy en día, nunca se han analizado desde la perspectiva de los efectos que causan en el nivel ético de los comportamientos de los trabajadores. Nosotros creemos que esos efectos serán positivos y directos, además de mediados a través de la empleabilidad de los trabajadores. Una muestra de 650 individuos pertenecientes a 166 empresas y una metodología de ecuaciones estructurales nos han permitido contrastar estas hipótesis.
Full-text available
Article
Este trabajo ha obtenido el Accésit Premio Estudios Financieros 2010 en la modalidad de recursos humanos. Tradicionalmente la investigación ha considerado la innovación en una empresa como una consecuencia de las características individuales de los trabajadores y de las prácticas organizativas. Así, por ejemplo, la literatura ha puesto considerable énfasis en la influencia que las características personales de los gerentes y de los empleados pueden ejercer en la capacidad innovadora de una empresa. Este trabajo pretende abordar el tema desde un ángulo diferente: mientras que los investigadores han aprendido mucho acerca de los efectos que las características de los gerentes y de los trabajadores tienen en la capacidad innovadora de una empresa, es relativamente poco el conocimiento que se tiene sobre el papel de la innovación como un factor que afecta a las características de los gerentes y de los empleados. Ciñéndonos a esta nueva perspectiva, este trabajo sugiere que un clima innovador en una organización tiene un efecto positivo sobre una característica específica del empleado (la empleabilidad) y sobre una característica específica de los gerentes (el estilo de liderazgo transaccional). Estas relaciones, que hasta ahora no han sido investigadas, han sido justificadas teóricamente y evaluadas empíricamente, junto con la bien documentada relación entre el estilo de liderazgo transaccional y el desempeño individual del trabajador. Nuestras hipótesis fueron analizadas empíricamente a través de una muestra de 795 profesores de 75 departamentos universitarios de Costa Rica, usando una metodología de ecuaciones estructurales.
Article
The concept and theory of Organizational Commitment (OC) has gained considerable attention in the management and behavioral sciences. Numerous studies have explored the associations between OC and various phenomena, with impressive results. This paper argue that the concept needs re-examination in light of recent business changes. The assertion that OC leads to a set of desired outputs proved to be valid for times of mutual commitment between organizations and their employees. We are now entering a new era of Human Resource and industrial relation systems, characterised by frequent redundancies and downsizing processes. This trend reflects a low commitment from organizations to their employees which is followed by a reduced level of OC. Subsequently it is hypothesised that the strength of OC as a leading concept in management and behavioral sciences is continuously decreasing. Support from the literature is provided, and recommendations for future research are presented.
Article
The shift from circumscribed careers to boundarylessness confronts us with a problem outside our previous experience. No norms and few models exist to tell how to evaluate, plan, review, analyze, promote, or otherwise live out a boundaryless career. Change dominates over stability. But of all changes, the most fundamental are changes in assumptions about the way the world works, and what we mean by the terms we use.
Article
This article explores the question how companies can create a different basis for security for their employees now that job security has increasingly become a thing of the past? An answer to this question is to create a new secure base by developing the employability of workers by sustaining and developing opportunities for work in the future. Promoting employability is part of a new psychological contract between employer and employee, whereby both are responsible for maintaining the employment situation. The employability of employees is determined by their actual know-how and skills; their willingness to be mobile and their knowledge of the labour market. Although the development of employability is not only a matter for labour organizations (branch organizations, the government, and employers' representatives and unions have to do their part too), we focus primarily on the policy that organizations can set out. Policymakers have to answer the following questions: (1) Is it necessary to develop the external or internal employability of employees? (2) For which category is it in particular necessary? (3) If employability does not take place automatically, is this because employees do not want this, or because they cannot do this? Or is it restricted by organizational aspects? Each of these questions will be discussed in this article.
Article
Introduction The Nature and Context of Careers Managing Careers in Organizations - An Overview Career Management Interventions in Organizations I Career Management Interventions in Organizations II Career Decision-Making Developmental Approaches to Career Management Work-Role Transitions Diverse People, Diverse Careers Postscript
Article
In the light of the changing economic and organizational contexts for careers, it is argued that a model of organizational careers needs to be: contextualized; interactive between individual and organization; subjective, not normative; processual, not structural; tolerant of different interests; and cyclical in nature. A model of organizational career as a sequence of renegotiations of psychological contracts is proposed. These contracts are based both on a perceived match between one's own wants and what the other has to offer, and on the exchange of promised offers. The cost-benefit ratio of this exchange for themselves is optimized by each party, and is affected by the power each takes into the negotiation. Responses to the contract by each party are based on their perceptions of its equity and of whether it has been honored. Depending on whether the contract is transactional or relational in nature, a variety of outcomes will ensue, including exit from the contract or its renegotiation. Since the model proposes that each party's wants and offers are predicted by their business, personal, and social contexts, and since the process of negotiation and renegotiation is cyclical, this model allows for the present radical changes in careers.
Article
This research examined the different profile of individual, opportunity structure, and career strategy variables related to both objective (salary) and subjective (self-perceived) career success. Questionnaire data were obtained from a stratified sample of 723 full-time employees at several higher education institutions in the north of England. Controlling for age, tenure, gender, and occupation, a different profile of factors predicted objective and subjective career success. The highest objective career success was reported by employees with a high level of education, who worked in larger organizations with well-structured progression ladders and invested considerable effort in their work role. In contrast, the highest subjective career success was reported by employees who were high on work centrality, who worked in organizations with well-structured progression ladders and employment security, and who networked frequently yet reported a lack of ambition. The theoretical and practical implications of these findings are discussed, together with avenues for further research.