Employability perceptions : Nature, determinants, and implications for health and well-being

Abstract: The general aim of the present thesis is to increase our understanding of perceived employability. Employability perceptions refer to individuals’ beliefs about their possibilities of finding new, equal, or better employment. How people perceive their possibilities of getting employment is important in a labour market characterised by flexibility and uncertainty, and the present thesis sets out to investigate the nature, determinants, and implications of employability perceptions, using two population-based samples. In Study I, the aim was to study if employability and self-efficacy are two distinct but related constructs and, along with this, to investigate the nature of their association. The results from this study indicated that employability was distinct from self-efficacy and, furthermore, that employability predicted subsequent self-efficacy. In Study II, the aim was to identify predictors of perceived employability. The combination of situational and individual factors was identified as important for employability perceptions. National economic prosperity, living/working in metropolitan areas, poor physical and good psychological work environments, formal education, and competency development were found to be positively associated with perceived employability. The aim of Study III was to investigate if employability could predict subsequent health and well-being. The results from this study implied that individuals who reported higher levels of employability also reported better global health and mental well-being, but not physical complaints, one year later, after controlling for work environment variables and previous health status. In conclusion, the present thesis has implications for theory as well as practice when it concludes that employability is not primarily a self-evaluation, that it is dependent on individual as well as situational factors, and that it has implications for health and well-being.

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