Original Research

Antecedents of perceived graduate employability: A study of student volunteers in a community-based organisation

Suki Goodman, Ginny Tredway
SA Journal of Industrial Psychology | Vol 42, No 1 | a1315 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajip.v42i1.1315 | © 2016 Suki Goodman, Ginny Tredway | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 21 September 2015 | Published: 17 May 2016

About the author(s)

Suki Goodman, Faculty of Commerce, University of Cape Town, South Africa
Ginny Tredway, Faculty of Commerce, University of Cape Town, South Africa


Orientation: There is growing interest in understanding the factors that contribute to graduates’ employability, but limited local knowledge. International research has pointed at volunteering as one avenue for enhancing employability, and this study presents results that looked at volunteering in the context of employability in a South African sample.

Research purpose: This study aimed at investigating motivations to volunteer, perceived graduate competencies, extent of participating in volunteering, along with gender and faculty of registration, as antecedents of perceived graduate employability among student volunteers and to compare the relative contributions of these antecedences in predicting perceived employability.

Research approach, design and method: A cross-sectional research design and a quantitative data collection method were used. The relative weights analysis was conducted to answer the research question.

Main findings: Overall, the results demonstrated, firstly, that different sets of predictors statistically significantly predict Perceived External Employability and Perceived Internal Employability, respectively. In the case of Perceived External Employability, a biographical predictor (faculty of registration) is the strongest predictor, whereas in the case of Internal Employability, a questionnaire measurement (of Social Motivation) comes out on top.

Practical implications/managerial implications: The social motivation factor as a predictor of perceived internal employability suggests that the more students valued the social interactions brought about by their volunteering activities, the better they saw themselves equipped for employment. This gives some weight to the argument that engaging in volunteer activities can help equip students with competencies that make them more prepared for the world of work.

Contribution/value-add: The study provided support for the construct validity of the scale for the measurement of perceived employability and evidence that different sets of predictors contribute to perceived internal and external employability.


voluntarism; motivations to volunteer; perceived graduate competencies, antecedents of perceived graduate employability


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Crossref Citations

1. Italian Adaption of Self-Perceived Employability Scale: Psychometric Properties and Relations with the Career Adaptability and Well-Being
Ernesto Lodi, Andrea Zammitti, Paola Magnano, Patrizia Patrizi, Giuseppe Santisi
Behavioral Sciences  vol: 10  issue: 5  first page: 82  year: 2020  
doi: 10.3390/bs10050082