What does a future career look like?

Due to the changing world of work, especially due to the changes caused by digitisation, the demands of the labour market are changing as well:

  • our working lives are getting longer, while the individual stages in our working lives are getting shorter and shorter.

This requires us to self-manage our careers. This research projects explores how we can handle the increased demand for planning and decision-making abilities and what people actually do, who want to change or have to change:

  • The project is based on three theoretical cornerstones:

(1) Career crafting in the framework of sustainable careers

(2) Career Construction Theory

(3) Self-Determination Theory (SDT) of motivation

  • The research project consists of three individual studies conducted in the framework of a doctoral project:
  • Study 1: Bridges over breaches – resources for career changes

– qualitative exploration of the resources that career changers in the middle of their working lives can use in view of changes.

In narrative interviews about their occupational biographies, 30 persons who have undergone considerable career changes (e.g. change of sector, transition to self-employment) were interviewed about how they bridged gaps in their CV.

  • Study 2: The "who" and "how“ of career crafting – conditions and effects of career self-management

– representative longitudinal survey conducted at the German labour market (N=2,000) to find out who autonomously applies practices of career self-management, i.e. career crafting, how they do it and with what result.

To find answers to the question “happiness instead of money?”, the survey is based, among others, on the newly developed Career Crafting Survey by Akkermans and Tims, as well as on the multidimensional model by Mayrhofer et al. for measuring career success.

  • Study 3: Shapeshifter vs. True You – which strategies lead to the career of the future?

– theoretical umbrella review, investigating how the meta-skills career adaptability vs. work identity contribute to the development of a sustainable career. 

  • This research project aims at making a substantial contribution to the debate on conditions for autonomous career development in times of change.

The entire project is integrated in the Faculty of Psychology's current key research area work in times of change – successfully dealing with changes in the world of work.


Facts and figures

Project plan

  • The qualitative survey of study 1 was conducted between November 2015 and July 2016.
  • The online survey (representative survey among German employees) was carried out in November 2016. The second survey will be conducted in autumn 2017.
  • The literature review is scheduled for spring 2017.

Initial results were already presented in the framework of two conferences (EGOS 2016, DGPS Kongress).

The book contribution “Bridges over Breaches: Agency and Meaning as Resources for Dealing with New Career Demands” was published as part of an editorial work by Christian Korunka and Bettina Kubicek, published by Springer Science in spring 2017. Further publications are being prepared.