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Asia Pacific Journal of Human Resources
http://apj.sagepub.com Work expectations and other factors influencing male apprentices' intentions to quit their trade Kathryn Gow, Connie Hinschen, David Anthony and Chantelle Warren Asia Pacific Journal of Human Resources 2008; 46; 99 DOI: 10.1177/1038411107086546. The online version of this article can be found at: http://apj.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/46/1/99

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Asia Pacific Journal of Human Resources

2008 46(1)

99

Work expectations and other factors influencing male apprentices’ intentions to quit their trade Kathryn Gow, Connie Hinschen, David Anthony, and Chantelle Warren Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Qld, Australia

This study examined the current trade shortage in Australian industry from the perspective of fewer young people entering the trades. We investigated the extent to which certain variables (relationship with their boss/supervisor; relationship with their co-workers; extrinsic motivation within the compensation subscale; the use of emotion-focused coping styles rather than problem-focused styles; and apprentices’ work expectations) could predict their intention to quit or stay in the job. Of the five predictors, only two (relationship with their boss/supervisor and/or their relationship with their co-workers) were found to have the ability to significantly predict intention to quit. Comparisons between Queensland and Victorian participants led to the conclusion that an apprentice’s choice to stay in or leave their trade was individually specific, and was most likely not based solely on one explicit factor, but on a range of work-related factors, which they, personally, considered important. Keywords: apprentices, Australia, co-worker relationships, supervisor relationships, trade shortage

Introduction As a result of rapid growth in the Australian economy in recent years, there has been mounting concern about skill shortages in a number of sectors in the Australian labour market, with the emergence of increased demand for some skills (Smith 2002; Toner 2005). A report by Smith (2002) showed that the engineering trades sector is the second largest area of employment in Australia’s trades workforce (construction industry being the largest),

Correspondence to: Professor Kathryn Gow, School of Psychology and Counselling, Queensland University of Technology (Carseldine Campus), Beams Road, Carseldine, Qld 4034, Australia; fax: +617 3138 4660; e-mail: k.gow@qut.edu.au Asia Pacific Journal of Human Resources. Published by SAGE Publications (Los Angeles, London, New Delhi and Singapore; www.sagepublications.com) on behalf of the Australian Human Resources Institute. Copyright © 2008 Australian Human Resources Institute. Volume 46(1): 99–121. [1038-4111] DOI: 10.1177/1038411107086546.

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100

Asia Pacific Journal of Human Resources

2008 46(1)

employing 17 per cent of total trade employment. Smith (2002) writes of a significant decline in employment within the engineering area, with a decrease of 15.8 per cent evident over the past decade. Apprentice attrition

Toner (2005) asserted that, between 1991 and 2000, the apprentice training rate declined by 16 per cent in comparison to the period 1980–90. This decline equated to a loss of one year’s apprentice intake...
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