Career Success: Employability and the Quality of Work Experiences

  • Annelies E. M. van VianenEmail author
  • Irene E. de Pater
  • Paul T. Y. Preenen


The changing labour market and unpredictability of careers necessitate employees to adopt non-traditional norms of career success and assess their career in terms of employability. We propose that employees could promote their employability specifically through engagement in challenging work experiences. High quality jobs provide employees with these experiences, which stimulate learning and adaptability, affect employees’ interests, work attitudes, and competency perceptions, and increase their organisational power and promotability. Whether employees encounter challenge in their job may depend on their own initiatives. Research has shown that intrinsically motivated individuals who are mastery-oriented, and who are self-efficacious and proactive are more likely to involve in challenging tasks than their extrinsically motivated, performance-oriented, low efficacious, and passive counterparts. However, the challenging nature of jobs also depends on factors in the work environment such as the task allocating behaviours of colleagues and supervisors. We conclude that supervisors in particular could promote the challenging experiences, employability, and career success of employees by inducing a learning orientation in employees, delegating tasks, and monitoring the division of challenging tasks among team members. In addition, organisations could foster the making of developmental i-deals with employees and design jobs that are both challenging and attainable.


Career success Employability Job challenge Skill development Adaptability 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Annelies E. M. van Vianen
    • 1
    Email author
  • Irene E. de Pater
    • 2
  • Paul T. Y. Preenen
    • 3
  1. 1.University of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  2. 2.National University of SingaporeSingaporeSingapore
  3. 3.Organisation for Applied Scientific Research TNOThe HagueThe Netherlands

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