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SA Journal of Industrial Psychology

On-line version ISSN 2071-0763
Print version ISSN 0258-5200


HARRY, Tinashe; CHINYAMURINDI, Willie T.  and  MJOLI, Themba. Perceptions of factors that affect employability amongst a sample of final-year students at a rural South African university. SA j. ind. Psychol. [online]. 2018, vol.44, n.1, pp.1-10. ISSN 2071-0763.

ORIENTATION: The unemployment rate within the South African context is on the rise. Given this, there is a need to understand factors influencing employability amongst a sample of final-year students in preparation for their transit into the labour market. RESEARCH PURPOSE: The overall objective of this research was to explore final-year students' perceptions of factors that affect employability. This was amongst a sample of students that were enrolled at a rural university in South Africa. MOTIVATION FOR THE STUDY: Within graduate employability studies, calls have been made to understand the factors around employability especially within a context of high unemployment. This study allows for an understanding of the journey from higher education into the labour market for previously disadvantaged individuals. RESEARCH APPROACH/DESIGN AND METHOD: An interpretivist, qualitative research approach using an exploratory research design was adopted to explore student perceptions and concerns of employability. Focus-group interviews were used as a data gathering technique amongst 30 final-year students about to exit the university system. Data were recorded, transcribed and processed, and narrative analysis used. MAIN FINDINGS: Through the analysis, a set of six factors were perceived to influence employability: (1) poor socio-economic status, (2) a poor education system, (3) curriculum issues, (4) the choice of higher education institution and (5) social connections to which the student belongs to. PRACTICAL/MANAGERIAL IMPLICATIONS: Through the identified factors, career counsellors can better understand their clients and those issues that shape their lived experiences. The findings can also assist the provision of better career guidance services. CONTRIBUTION/VALUE-ADD: This study provides an understanding of the complex issues facing potential graduates through lived experiences. It provides an understanding of student perceptions towards employability, which policymakers should consider when addressing the issue of unemployment in the country.

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