Publication
Title
Contextualizing employability : do boundaries of self-directedness vary in different labor market groups?
Author
Abstract
Purpose Individual employability has become a crucial element in ensuring labor security in flexibilizing labor markets. The importance of agency-side factors as antecedents of employability has been emphasized in the relevant literature, spurring the criticism that some worker groups may be more restricted than others by contextual factors in respect to their employment prospects. The purpose of this paper is to examine empirically how labor market groups differ in what shapes their employability. Design/methodology/approach The authors used a representative sample of 1,055 employees to detect differences in the impact of career self-directedness (agency-side) and several contextual factors (structure-side) on employability, comparing workers with and without higher education and workers in and outside managerial positions. Confirmatory factor analysis with subsequent tests of invariance was used. Findings Results confirm that employability is affected both by contextual factors and by self-directedness. No significant differences were observed between the compared groups in the extent to which self-directedness and the contextual factors influence employability. An important finding is that self-directedness itself is affected by preceding career history (career mobility and previous unemployment), which may suggest a vicious-circle relationship between past and future career precariousness. Practical/implications The findings support the view prevailing in policy circles that fostering agency-side factors such as self-directedness is instrumental toward achieving higher employment security. At the same time, individual agency cannot replace traditional policy measures in tackling structural labor market inequalities. Originality/value This study uses robust methodology and a representative respondent sample to statistically disentangle the effects of agency and context on employability. Its key contribution pertains to the explicit comparison of different worker groups, with separate contrasts on each model parameter.
Language
English
Source (journal)
Career development international
Publication
2016
ISSN
1362-0436
Volume/pages
21:5(2016), p. 498-517
ISI
000386016200004
Full text (Publisher's DOI)
Full text (open access)
The version that has been submitted to a journal for peer review Available from 27.07.2018
Full text (publisher's version - intranet only)
UAntwerpen
Faculty/Department
Research group
Publication type
Subject
Affiliation
Publications with a UAntwerp address
External links
Web of Science
Record
Identification
Creation 21.09.2016
Last edited 30.11.2017
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