The Relationship between Career Commitment and Career Success among University staff: The Mediating Role of Employability

Beatrice Van der Heijden, E.M.M. Davies, Dimitri van der Linden, Nikos Bozionelos, Ans de Vos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Across Europe, ongoing changes in the higher education sector, such as the stagnating (even decreasing) percentage of permanent or tenure-track jobs, and the reduced government budgets for higher education impress on us the need to conduct empirical research on the dynamics of the careers in this sector. In this study, we focussed on career success in the higher education sector, and specifically, we examined the relationship of career commitment with objective and subjective career success, and the mediating role of employability in this relationship. Participants were drawn from across occupational roles including academic and support staff (N = 354) in a large Dutch university. Process macro’s for SPSS were used to test our hypothesized model. We found career commitment to be related to employability, in particular to three out of its five dimensions (i.e., anticipation & optimisation, personal flexibility, and corporate sense). We also found some support for a positive association between employability and both objective and subjective career success. Furthermore, employability, and in particular personal flexibility and corporate sense, fully mediated the relationship between career commitment and objective career success indicators. Also, employability, and specifically corporate sense, partially mediated the relationship between career commitment and subjective career success. Unexpectedly, staff status did not prove to be a moderator in our research model. It appears that different explanatory mechanisms operate between career commitment and 2 forms of career success. Our study implies that it is important for university staff to actively invest in protecting and further enhancing their employability, with a special focus on the development of one’s corporate sense, and to be supported in this by their surrounding stakeholders (i.e., their family, friends, peers, direct supervisor, and employer). Only in case university staff’s employability is taken care of, they will be able to increase their career success and to add to the sustained competitive advantage of their employers.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Management Review
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 12 Jan 2022

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