Job search anxiety and perceived barriers to labour market entry

Dora Scholarios, Belgin Okay-Somerville

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Adopting concepts from developmental career theories, career boundaries literature and the emotional model of job search, the present study examines the role of perceived career barriers on the experience of job search and wellbeing. We hypothesise that perceived barriers and job search anxiety (JSA) influence job search; and that JSA partially mediates the effect of perceived barriers on job search. Methodology The study is informed by a survey of 498 final year undergraduate job applicants from Scottish universities. Measures included: perceived barriers to labour market entry; job search expectations, intensity, sources, strategies and behaviours; and JSA. Demographics, e.g., age, gender, degree subject, social background, expected degree result and university type were controlled in the analyses. Results Perceived internal but not external barriers predicted JSA, which was positively associated with (i) an expectation to take any job upon graduation; (ii) number of job sources used; and (iii) a haphazard information search strategy. Internal barriers and JSA were negatively associated with an expectation of securing a good job upon graduation. Perceived barriers and JSA did not predict job search intensity, job search behaviors, and other job search strategies. Limitations Cross-sectional data is a major limitation. Research/Practical Implications Findings partially support the emotional model of job search. Counselors should be aware of the implications of JSA on graduate job search expectations and strategies. Originality/Value The study contributes to job search literature by focusing on the emotional side of job search for new entrants into the graduate labour market.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 20 May 2017
EventEuropean Association of Work and Organizational Psychology Conference - Dublin, Ireland
Duration: 17 May 201720 May 2017


ConferenceEuropean Association of Work and Organizational Psychology Conference


  • anxiety
  • barriers
  • labour market

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