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There is much evidence that suggests that working class students are disadvantaged in the graduate labor market because they lack the economic and social as well as cultural capital possessed by their middle-class peers. So, the research investigated how this influences the way they approach career decision making and whether it contributes to their disadvantage in the graduate labor market accordingly. So, the study examined how working-class undergraduates in their final year of study at different universities, make decisions about their careers. Thus, in particular, the study focused on the rationale behind the approach they adopted efficiently.


Besides, the results of the study were analyzed under three main headings- financial issues, networks, and values. 

  • Financial issues- 

Often, it is claimed that a lack of economic capital forces working-class students to engage in term-time work. So, it means they do not have the time to participate in non-paid extra-curricular activities that would help them to improve their employability accordingly and It is also argued that working-class students lack the time to engage in career decision-making activities or to apply for jobs accordingly. Also, In this study, the financial factors did not appear to be the key factor influencing behavior. So, the students failed to participate in non-paid extra-curricular activities because they were unaware that graduate employers valued this type of experience. Additionally, the students concentrated on achieving a -good degree to the exclusion of other activities as well as because they believed this was pivotal to success in the graduate labor markets. Moreover, The students also tended to adopt a -serial approach to study and careers efficiently. Thus, rather than carrying out a number of tasks simultaneously, most students prioritized assignments as well as other activities and completed them serially that is, one at a time. So, as a result, the career planning activities were inevitably suspended as the students completed more pressing tasks such as assignments. Also, the fact that many students had term-time jobs also acted as a disincentive to action because it meant that most students had an income on graduation. Additionally, because many of their peers were adopting similar strategies they regarded their approach to careers as normative. So, a lack of economic capital is also said to act as a constraint on the extent to which working-class students are geographically mobile. Moreover, the student's lack of geographical mobility did not seem to arise because of financial constraints and the students often emphasized a psychological need to remain close to their family and friends properly. So, there was also evidence to suggest that some families exert emotional pressure on students to remain close to home as much as possible.


  • Networks –

Students operate within a complex set of relationships made up of parents, relatives, and friends as well as professionals that include teachers, lecturers, and careers advisers, etc. Also, these relationships or -networks represent forms of social capital that may be utilized in the career decision-making process. So, It is argued that working-class students will have poor levels of social capital because of the habitus that they and their contacts occupy. It was generally true of the students in this study area. So, Yet ambiguities arose because some students had family and friends from more middle-class backgrounds. Thus, the students also discussed career issues and the reluctance of students to approach the careers service for advice arises for plenty of reasons as well. It includes the following reasons:-

  • They preferred to talk to people they were more familiar with. It is why they often approached their lecturers rather than professional careers advisers casually.

  • Many students said they were intimidated by careers advisers. So, they feared their lack of knowledge about career issues could result in embarrassment or even humiliation as well.

  • The minority of students had already decided on a career path. As they did not, feel the need for career advice. So, these students mistakenly believed that careers advisers were only there to help with career choices and they were not aware that, they could also help them with the recruitment and selection process efficiently.

  • Most students did not approach careers advisers because they were concentrating on their studies and were not at the stage of considering careers seriously.

  • Also, the careers service seemed to be invisible to some students. So, they were not conscious of its existence and those who were aware of it did not always seem to know where the careers service was located. 

  • Many students were alienated from their careers by their previous experience of the service and especially at school and colleges.

  •  Many students admitted to lacking the motivation to arrange a careers interview.

  • Values -

For the working class are said to value informal information, just rather than formal  information and more rational or comprehensive approaches to decision-making process. It appears to be support for this view because the students often failed to adopt a rational approach to career decision-making particularly. So, the working class students in this study often exhibited values or behaviour that contradicted existing empirical research and theories. Also, there was also a significant degree of heterogeneity in the decision-making behaviour of the students in this researches. It is perhaps not surprising, as the students all come from working class backgrounds and the influences upon them can often be very different. So, despite these differences some common themes emerged from this researches. Most students made little attempt to improve their employability’s. It was due to a lack of awareness of the importance of developing their -personal capital. Moreover, The students did not consider a wide range of different careers options available. So, It is also because they did not adopt a comprehensive approach to career decision making as well as they often had limited social capital available. Thus,  though having poor levels of social capital the working class students in this study did not offset this disadvantage by making greater use of professional careers advice properly.


  • Recommendations -

  1. The working class students need to be better informed about how to approach career decision-making. Solutions that advocate better information are overly simplistic. 

  2. Besides, It is recommended that the following is taken into account when attempting to improve the students’ career decision makings.  So, due to the practical difficulties involved in targeting working class students for additional support, it should be suggested that compulsory careers education is introduced on all undergraduate programmes and expect working class students and also other disadvantaged groups, to obtain more benefit from this than other students as well. 

  3. The Careers advice and education should be student centered so that account is taken of the circumstances and values of the students as well. 

  4. Additionally, a critical approach should be adopted efficiently. So, the use of group work, practical exercises, case studies and analogical encoding would help students to critically evaluate how they undertake the process of career decision making and encourage them to consider alternative approaches efficiently.



Malja Hayat 2 years ago
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