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Original Research

Assessing employability capacities and career adaptability in a sample of human resource professionals

Melinde Coetzee, Nadia Ferreira, Ingrid L. Potgieter

SA Journal of Human Resource Management; Vol 13, No 1 (2015), 9 pages. doi: 10.4102/sajhrm.v13i1.682

Submitted: 15 January 2015
Published:  04 June 2015


Orientation: Employers have come to recognise graduates’ employability capacities and their ability to adapt to new work demands as important human capital resources for sustaining a competitive business advantage.

Research purpose: The study sought (1) to ascertain whether a significant relationship exists between a set of graduate employability capacities and a set of career adaptability capacities and (2) to identify the variables that contributed the most to this relationship.

Motivation for the study: Global competitive markets and technological advances are increasingly driving the demand for graduate knowledge and skills in a wide variety of jobs. Contemporary career theory further emphasises career adaptability across the lifespan as a critical skill for career management agency. Despite the apparent importance attached to employees’ employability and career adaptability, there seems to be a general lack of research investigating the association between these constructs.

Research approach, design and method: A cross-sectional, quantitative research design approach was followed. Descriptive statistics, Pearson product-moment correlations and canonical correlation analysis were performed to achieve the objective of the study. The participants (N = 196) were employed in professional positions in the human resource field and were predominantly early career black people and women.

Main findings: The results indicated positive multivariate relationships between the variables and showed that lifelong learning capacities and problem solving, decision-making and interactive skills contributed the most to explaining the participants’ career confidence, career curiosity and career control.

Practical/managerial implications: The study suggests that developing professional graduates’ employability capacities may strengthen their career adaptability. These capacities were shown to explain graduates’ active engagement in career management strategies deemed important for their sustained employability in the contemporary career environment.

Contributions: The results of the study offered empirical evidence in support of theoretical views on the self-regulatory capacities underpinning individuals’ career adaptability and how these are influenced by their employability capacities.

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Author affiliations

Melinde Coetzee, Department of Industrial and Organisational Psychology, University of South Africa, South Africa
Nadia Ferreira, Department of Human Resource Management, University of South Africa, South Africa
Ingrid L. Potgieter, Department of Human Resource Management, University of South Africa, South Africa


employability capacities, career adaptability, graduate skills and attributes, career management


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1. Linking dimensions of career adaptability to adaptation results: A meta-analysis
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Journal of Vocational Behavior  vol: 102  first page: 151  year: 2017  
doi: 10.1016/j.jvb.2017.06.003

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ISSN: 1683-7584 (print) | ISSN: 2071-078X (online)

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