Career Adaptability in Occupational Psychology: A Dissertation Summary

Investigation the Role of Career Adaptability in Occupational Psychology

Dissertation overview by Tyla-Rae de Grey-Warter, University of Hertfordshire


To explore the relationship between career adaptability and career success. Furthermore, to investigate the extent to which career adaptability and career-related barriers are connected.


An exploratory sequential mixed-methods factor analytical approach whereby the collection and analysis of interview data would inform the development of numerical data collection via questionnaires. In other words, results from the interview data were used in order to create the questionnaires.

To summarise, the introduction provides understanding as to what careers are and how they have been viewed (past and present), the factors needing to be considered by university graduates when pursuing a particular career pathway, and the usefulness of career adaptability in achieving career goals.

Very little research has been carried out in order to investigate why occupational psychology students are not seeking to reach chartership. This project aimed to provide greater insight as to why this may be the case, specifically focussing on career adaptability. Career adaptability refers to one’s own ability to manage and cope with the demands of (unexpected) tasks and changes to the job role or environment. It encompasses what are known as the ‘4Cs’: concern, control, curiosity, and confidence. Career success was useful in order to explore the influence of career adaptability as it provided a measure for each of the 4Cs to be compared against (i.e., was there greater career success if there were higher levels of confidence?).

Aims of the research included:
  1. To see how individuals (recent graduates or mature students) view occupational psychology as a profession.
  2. To understand the career journeys of new occupational psychologists and what might prevent them from reaching their career-related goals.
  3. To explore how much of an influence career adaptability has on the careers of new occupational psychologists and what skills are needed in order to succeed in such a career.
Method and Analysis

12 occupational psychology graduates were recruited via word of mouth for the interview portion of the study. All interview data was explored using thematic analysis. 16 participants were recruited via snowball sampling on LinkedIn for the questionnaire portion of the study. Results from this part of the investigation were analysed using the software, SPSS, and specifically using correlational analyses, t-tests and regression models.


In terms of the type of student, that is whether the participant was a recent graduate or mature student at the time of completing their occupational psychology masters, there was no difference in the number of barriers experienced and there was no evidence of mature students experiencing more barriers than recent graduates and vice versa.

Similarly, there was no evidence to suggest that career success is impacted by the total number of barriers experienced by an individual pursuing an occupational psychology career.

Furthermore, results failed to show any strong relationship between the 4Cs of career adaptability and career success. However, when focus was put on each of the 4Cs individually in relation to career success, confidence was the only factor to significantly and positively effect career success.


Confidence can significantly influence career success. Therefore, academics and recruiters should aim to inspire higher levels of confidence in their dependents, consequently aiding their success in pursuing occupational psychology as a career.

This dissertation was conducted by Tyla-Rae de Grey-Warter in 2021 at the University of Hertfordshire

For further information contact Tyla-Rae de Grey-Warter on LinkedIn