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career research blog

The latest career research insights to grow your career

Filtering by Tag: career decision

Career advice: Encouraging mums and discouraging friends

Noemi Nagy

A recent study from the USA investigated college students’ perceptions of their most influential sources of career related information. The researchers investigated encouraging as well as discouraging career messages and found that mothers, followed by teachers/professors, friends and fathers, were perceived to be the most influential sources of encouraging career messages. Mothers were most often described as telling their children to pursue a passion for their career while teachers/professors were frequently reported as providing career detail messages. Friends were identified as the most influential source of discouraging messages.

Powers, S. R., & Myers, K. K. (2016). Vocational Anticipatory Socialization College Students’ Reports of Encouraging/Discouraging Sources and Messages. Journal of Career Development, online before print, August 1, 2016.

 

What values guide your career?

Francisco Wilhelm

What motivates us to work and what we value in our work are tricky problems. Back in the old days, you would simply do what your father (and it was mostly men who entered occupations) did. Why you work wasn’t even a serious question. Born a peasant, you simply had no choice; for nobles, it was only starting in the 19th century that following a ‘regular’ occupation was a valid pursuit and not something reserved for lower classes. The question was only a concern to the middle classes, and their choices were limited by rather rigid systems of guilds and societies evolving at a slow pace.

But that is no longer our world: Both the what and why of working get more complicated everyday. The range of occupations to choose from is exploding; even more so, to stay valuable on the labor market you now have to craft a niche for yourself and proactively manage your own career. Thus, to navigate our complex world, questions about what and why you work are also becoming more important everyday.

Researchers have identified that career identity, or “being clear on one’s needs, motivation, abilities, values and interests” (Hall 2002; Gubler, Arnold & Coombs, 2014) is a key ingredient for successful careers in the 21st century. But finding out what your needs, motivations, abilities, values and interests are is a daunting task, even for highly self-reflexive persons. Fortunately, we at CRESOGO are here to help you. In today’s post we are going to explore the values aspect of work identities.

What are work values? Simply put, they “answer the question of what is important to individuals in their working lives” (Lyons, Higgins & Duxbury, 2010). Researchers have been looking for underlying criteria that people use, implicitly or explicitly, when choosing or evaluating jobs. For example, when a person prefers a job that is secure, provides a good life-work-balance and offers benefits such as health insurance, that person values instrumental aspects in her/his work.  There has been an ongoing debate on just how many and which categories are the best to classify people’s preferences. In a large-scale study with over 100.000 people, Lyons and colleagues have found that the best classification of work values consists of four types, which are: instrumental, cognitive, social/altruistic, prestige.

The Instrumental work value type emphasizes aspects of security and comfort and how one can gain things from work which can be used for other purposes, like salary and moderate hours of work. The cognitive work value type is about the aspects of work which are fulfilling in themselves, like variety and doing interesting and intellectually stimulation work that challenges your abilities and from which you can learn. The social work value type entails the relations we foster at work and the social interactions, as well as altruistic aspects like helping people and contributing to society through your work. The prestige work value type is about enhancing yourself through gaining authority, influence and status.

What work aspects are dear to you? What work values do you hold? We hope this article will help you to reflect on your values. Maybe it will even help you when your next career decision comes up.

 

References

Gubler, M., Arnold, J., & Coombs, C. (2014). Reassessing the protean career concept: Empirical findings, conceptual components, and measurement. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 35, 23–40. doi:10.1002/job.1908

Hall, D. T. (2002). Careers in and out of organizations. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, Inc.

Lyons, S. T., Higgins, C. A., & Duxbury, L. (2010). Work values: Development of a new three- dimensional structure based on confirmatory smallest space analysis. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 31(7), 969–1002. doi:10.1002/job.658

How career preferences reflect gender stereotypes

Anja Ghetta

An Israeli study investigated how career-decisions depend on gender. When women and men named their aspired occupations, women preferred professions that were more “feminine” and men more “masculine” ones. Similarly, when study participants rated how important different aspects of work were to them (e.g., working indoors, working with numbers and figures) and then matched those job aspects with suitable occupations, men’s aspired occupations were still more “masculine” than women’s. However, these indirect occupational preferences expressed by ratings of work aspects were less gender-typical than the directly named aspired occupations. This suggests that gender bias in professional aspirations can be reduced when focusing on work aspects (e.g., autonomy, field of work, working outdoors) instead of job titles. 

Readers of our blog might also be intereested to check out a free career decision-making platform that is based on the work of the authors of the above presented study: www.cddq.org

Gadassi, R., & Gati, I. (2009). The effect of gender stereotypes on explicit and implicit career preferences. The Counseling Psychologist, 37(6), 902-922. 

Androgynous people are most confident in their career decision making

Anja Ghetta

Self-efficacy in the context of career choice means how confident someone is in successfully selecting a career. Choosing a suitable career represents a complex task which requires making plans, coping with setbacks, and knowledge about oneself as well as about occupations. According to a Turkish study, androgynous high school students with both feminine and masculine personality traits were most confident in their career decision making. So called undifferentiated students with little feminine and masculine characteristics showed the lowest confidence. Self-efficacy of mainly feminine or masculine students lied between the levels of androgynous and undifferentiated students.

Bolat, N., & Odaci, H. (2016). High school final year students' career decision-making self-efficacy, attachement styles and gender role orientations. Current Psychology. Online publication. doi:10.1007/s12144-016-9409-3