Job-seekers among youth in Latvia: motivating factors, action strategies and supporters
According to the International Labour Office (2016), the global youth unemployment rate is on the rise after a number of years of improvement. Unemployment can be a stressful, depressing, and literally sickening experience (Koen et al., 2010:126), therefore “facing the prospect of unemployment, working poverty and/or vulnerable forms of employment, young people tend to look abroad for better education and employment opportunities” (International Labour Office, 2016:viii). Youth unemployment and job-seeking is also an important social issue in Latvia (Grinevica & Kovalevs, 2015; Grineviča & Rivža, 2015; Grineviča et al., 2015; Pīgozne, 2014; Starineca & Voronchuk, 2015). Providing opportunities for young people to access decent jobs means more than just earning a living but ensuring that young people can realize their aspirations, improve their living conditions, generating an adequate income and social protection (International Labour Office, 2015).
The acquisition and maintenance of stable employment is one of the most important markers of the transition to adulthood (McDonald et al., 2007:1329). Job-seeking “has become so pervasive and frequent that it is now considered to be an integral part of people’s worklife” (Kanfer et al., 2001, cited in Van Hoye & Saks, 2008:358). Job-seeking is a purposive, volitional, self-managed and self-regulating process (Kanfer et al., 2001, cited in Creed, 2008; van Dam & Menting, 2012). There are many studies to investigate the different aspects of job searching among the employed and unemployed job-seekers:
- the relationship between job search objectives and job search methods (Van Hoye & Saks, 2008);
- the use of different job-search strategies via job-seekers' career adaptability (Koen et al., 2010);
- the effects of job search behaviors on criteria of job search success (Saks, 2006);
- the formal and informal methods of job search (Try, 2005);
- the relationships between career-relevant activities, self-regulatory variables, variables from the Theory of Planned Behavior, and job search intensity (Zikic & Saks, 2009);
- work motivation of unemployed youth (Ngai et al., 2016);
- a model where mentor career support predicts college student career planning, job search intentions, and self-defeating job search behavior via student career self-efficacy (Renn, 2014).
The purpose of the paper is to identify which action strategies are used by youth to find a job; who provides a support to them in a job-seeking process; what motivates youth to accept a job offer in Latvia as well as to show the relationship between youth opinion on motivating factors and young people’s profile (e.g. gender, age, education level, etc.).
The research questions are:
- Which are the most important action strategies and supporters for youth to find a job in Latvia?
- Which motivating factors are the most popular and the less popular among the young people to accept a job offer in Latvia?
- Are there any relationship between youth opinion concerning the motivating factors mentioned and the young people’s gender, age, place of residence, education level and field, foreign languages spoken, unemployment/employment experience, non-formal and informal learning experience, and employment status?
This research on the job seekers’ action strategies, supporters and motivating factors in Latvia is a small part of the study on adult learning conducted within the project "Implementation of the European agenda for adult learning" (led by Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Latvia and funded by EC, grant decision No 2012-3753/001-001). This paper deals with the analysis of some findings on youth learning within Part 2 “Adult education resources to diminish youth unemployment” (Pīgozne, 2014).
The research applying mixed-method approach (quantitative and qualitative data analysis) was conducted. An online survey was administered by applying a web-based survey containing a 4-point Likert scale ranking questions, category questions and open questions. The sample comprises 405 young people. The profile of the youth was as follows:
• Gender: 326 female, 79 male;
• Age: 248 persons aged 15-24, 157 – aged 25-29;
• Place of residence: 281 persons live in cities (regional centers), 45 – in towns (non-regional centers), 79 – in countryside;
• Education level: 61 having a lower secondary education, 109 – upper secondary education, 50 – vocational education, 185 – higher education;
• Education field: 140 respondents represent the social sciences, 41 – humanities, 25 – exact sciences, 15 – arts.
• Employment status: 172 employees, 31 entrepreneurs, 44 self-employed, 60 unemployed, 75 students from universities/colleges, 23 students from general education schools, vocational schools, evening (shift) schools;
• Employment experience: no experience – 116, 1-3 months – 21, 4-6 months – 24, 7-12 months – 40, 1-2 years – 51, 3 years and more – 153;
• Foreign languages spoken: 60 communicate in one foreign language, 212 – two foreign languages, 133 – three and more foreign languages;
• Non-formal and informal learning experience: 111 have non-formal and informal learning experience, 294 does not have this experience;
• Unemployment experience: no experience – 220, 1-3 months – 42, 4-6 months – 35, 7-12 months – 36, 1-2 years – 42, 3 years and more – 30.
The respondents reflected on previous learning experience focusing on formal, non-formal and informal learning methods and forms, skills acquired and their compliance with labour market needs. In the open questions they expressed the opinion on ways to increase education quality, wrote their success story to getting a job, their extracurricular experience, told why exactly they were successful – which skills, qualifications, initiatives, etc. had helped them. Quantitative data were analysed using SPSS software (frequencies, crosstabs, etc.) and qualitative data were analysed using AQUAD software (frequencies, linkages, implicants).
According to the results of the web-based survey, the most important action strategies to find a job among youth in Latvia were: a personal initiative (75.3%), information gathering / obtaining (72.6%), acquisition of new knowledge and skills (53.1%). The most important supporters for youth were: friends (57.3%) and family (80.7%). As the most popular motivating factors to accept a job offer in Latvia were mentioned: an interesting work (81%), a good salary (80.2%), and a flexible work schedule (62.7%). While among the less popular were mentioned: a responsible work (27.2%), an opportunity to show initiative (29.9%), and a work which is useful for society (32.6%). There were statistically significant relationships between youth profile and motivating factors mentioned:
• a good salary is a motivating factor for 3 years and more unemployed youth; youth with non-formal and informal learning experience and female youth;
• an interesting work – for youth with non-formal and informal learning experience, youth from the towns (non-regional centers);
• a flexible work schedule – for 15-24 years old people;
• the good career prospects – for youth from the towns (non-regional centers);
• a good opportunity to combine work with study process – for youth with vocational education, youth with non-formal and informal learning experience and the students;
• an opportunity to improve themselves constantly – for 25-29 years old people, youth with higher education, representatives of the social sciences, youth communicating in 3 or more foreign languages, 3 years and more employed youth; youth with non-formal and informal learning experience;
• a prestige work ¬– for youth with higher education;
• an opportunity to show initiative – for youth from the towns (non-regional centers);
• a work which is useful for society – for the employees;
• a responsible work – for youth from the towns (non-regional centers), youth with non-formal and informal learning experience.
The detailed results will be discussed at the ECER2017 conference.
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