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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Factors Related to Job-Search Success: Examining the Role of Employment Flexibility

  • Author(s): Stevenson, Brian James
  • Advisor(s): Brown, Michael T
  • et al.

This study sought to examine the ways in which employment flexibility – a novel psychological construct defined as one’s willingness to work under a variety of different employment conditions – impacts the job-search process of recent college graduates. Specifically, this study aimed to investigate the relationships between employment flexibility and the following antecedents, behaviors, and outcomes of job-searching: number of job interviews received, number of job offers received, career adaptability, job-search intensity, job-search strategy, and job-search self-efficacy. Additionally, this study sought to develop a measure of employment flexibility as well as to provide initial evidence of construct validation.

The first step in accomplishing the goals of this study was to develop a measure of employment flexibility, the Employment Flexibility Scale (EFS). The EFS was developed based on the theoretical underpinnings of employment flexibility- circumscription and compromise (Gottfredson, 2002; 2005) and underemployment theory (Feldman, 1996). After an initial item development process, a reliability analysis and an exploratory factor analysis (EFA) was conducted in a sample of 204 of recent college graduates. Results from this first study suggested that the EFS was a reliable measure consisting of three factors: Person-Job Mismatch Flexibility, Resources Mismatch Flexibility, and Relational Mismatch Flexibility. After this initial exploration of the EFS, a second study was undertaken to confirm this three-factor structure of the EFS.

Study Two was completed with a new sample of 123 recent college graduates. Data collected from this sample was used to conduct a confirmatory factor analysis (CFA). Results from the CFA corroborated that the EFS has a stable three-factor structure. Finally, a third study was conducted to investigate the specific hypotheses guiding this research study.

Study Three was conducted among a new sample of 201 of recent college graduates. Participants in this study were asked to complete a variety of self-report measures. Correlational and regression analysis of the data collected in this study indicated that employment flexibility was related to a number of important job-search variables. Specifically, this study found that employment flexibility was positively related to job-search intensity, career adaptability, and an exploratory job-search strategy. Additionally, results from this study provide insights into the ways in which employment flexibility operates within the recent college graduate population. In general, it appears that recent college graduates are moderately employment flexible, and have the least flexibility toward pay underemployment and hours underemployment (i.e., Resources Mismatch Flexibility). The results of this study serve as the foundation to discuss the implications for practice and future research.

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