Career Preferences Among Uitm’s Final Year Students

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1.0 Introduction

The objectives of this study is to investigate which path the final year students would opt to go for, when it comes to their preferences of working area right after they graduate from university. This is to further see the perceptions of these students towards deciding on having a career upon graduation. It is also to examine the perceptions of generation Y towards their future choice of career. Data for this study are collected from final year students from various area of study in University of Technology MARA. The main issues to be explored by this study are:

a. What are the factors that affect the career decisions of the final year students? b. Is there a gender bias in selecting a career among these students? c. Is it important that students be attached to an organisation as soon as they graduate?

2.0 Literature Review

According to Terjesen, Vinnicombe & Freeman (2007), the process of graduate employments would begin from the publicity and advertising made by organizations to communicate values and images that would deem to reflect the objectives of the respective organizations. The researchers found that there is a need to have better knowledge of the flow and dynamics in making recruitment decisions. Therefore, this research had looked into the job preferences among Generation Y full-time undergraduates from the top 22 UK universities who are, at the time, unemployed. The research had revealed that among these undergraduates, male respondents would stress more on getting high-paid jobs. All respondents also expressed concerns on whether having enough degree skills, hence having good CGPAs, so as to be able to work with good organizations.

In the study of Erdogmus (2002), the focus was on a group of professionals, where these groups of employees have a broad range of career interests. However, the researcher believed that working with an organization would be fully driven by employees expecting a prospect of promotion. The researcher also believed that there are also non-monetary factors that affect the preference of career development. Hence, data for this study was gathered from engineers and managers in Turkey’s private sector. 250 sets of questionnaire were distributed, where only 145 were returned. It was found that the sense of being challenged is what drives these professional, followed by competence, autonomy, lifestyle integration, organizational stability, innovation, sense of service, and entrepreneur creativity.

Moss and Frieze (1993) indicated in their research that young adult would like to take the opportunity to switch their career paths and fields of study once they discover their strengths, weaknesses and the realistic demand of various career. There are some previous literatures in the field of decision making which investigate the ways choices are presented to decision makers and how they influence people to make decisions especially in the risky career (cf. Highhouse and Yuce, 1996; Kahneman and Tversky, 1984). The earliest literature states that it is important for individual to fit their personal needs and capabilities with the jobs they are interested for (Argyris, 1964; Holland, 1959). “As Ostoff et al. (2002, pp. 72-3) note, the preponderance of empirical works on fit has focused on the role of interests in occupational choice. That is, researchers have typically examined the similarity of people considering various careers to current job incumbents in term of their interest.” Other than that, a person’s ability also will affect their career choice more than the interest part (Austin and Hanish, 1990). Werbel and Gilliland, 1999; Wilk et al. 1995 also support this by stating that the poor skills of individuals will make them likely to quit, receive low performance ratings, be required to take additional training or be counselled to leave the firm altogether. Interest fit may become irrelevant without skill fit to be successful...
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