Biskup Vitaliy Stepanovych


Career competence of student youth: sociological aspect


The dissertation presents the results of a study of the system factors of formation and
realization of the career competence. The study is designed from the standpoint of the
structural paradigm in sociology. The integral components of the career are identified as a
complexly organized phenomenon of individual and social life. The content of the terms
«career», «career competence», «career competencies», «career price» is analyzed. The
institutional parameters of career formation, their influence on the trajectory of individual
social mobility of student youth are determined. For the first time in Ukrainian
sociological discourse, the conceptual basis of the analysis of professional competence
from the standpoint of the structural paradigm is elaborated. Based on the analysis of the
system of endo- and exogenous factors (in particular socio-psychological factors,
sociocultural and institutional factors), an authorial approach to the analysis of
professional competence at micro, meso- and macrolevels is proposed. The categorial-
conceptual apparatus for the study of career problems is clarified and systematized. The
author interprets the notion of a career as a multi-aspect phenomenon, which can be
defined: 1) in dynamics as a process of accumulation and use of cultural, educational,
social capital with the purpose of professional self-realization and the achievement of
socially-psychological identity between career competence, professional and status
aspirations and the requirements of the external environment; 2) in the static dimension, as 19

an individually attained at a certain moment in time status and position in the professional
In the first chapter («Theoretical and Methodological principles of career research in
social humanitarian disciplines») author noted that the career phenomenon is at the center
of attention of specialists in the field of sociology, psychology, economics, and
management theory. In the second chapter («Career competence: methodological and
empirical dimension of the problem») the empirical dimension of scientific researches of
Ukrainian and foreign sociologists in the research of career competence is analyzed. In the
third chapter («Career competence of contemporary student youth: the experience of
empirical research») it was found that student youth is both a subject of career
development and an object of influence of institutions involved in the formation of career
competence (one of the most important of such institutions is university). Within the limits
of the empirical research, on the basis of the use of author’s inventory, it is elaborated that
among the institutional agents the most significant influence on the formation of the career
competence of the students the informal agents make. Author analyzes the motivational
factors determining the career direction of student youth and the representation of young
people about the price of a career.
The dissertation deals with the distinction of disciplinary peculiarities of the study of
professional career in psychology, social psychology, management theory and sociology.
It is argued that the interdisciplinary approach in the study of this problem has numerous
advantages: at the level of endogenous socio-psychological factors in the formation and
implementation of a career it is expedient to involve theoretical developments in social
psychology; in the study of institutional factors – the developments of the theory of
management; in the study of socio-cultural factors – sociological concepts. At the level of
the empirical research of professional career a combination of a number of general
scientific and specific sociological methods is proposed. In the current study the methods
of mass and expert survey are used. The processing of data retrived from this studies is
conducted using correlational and claster analysis methods. Secondary analysis of
published statistical surveys has also been used.
The conceptual apparatus for studying the problems of professional career realization
is specified and systematized. One of the central concepts of research, the concept of
«career competence», is considered as a multidimensional construct consisting of the
competences of professional and personal profiles, which in their totality cover a wide
range of practical, research, personal, socio-psychological and social characteristics of the
subject realizing a career. The author proposed the interpretation of the concept of
«career» as a multidimensional phenomenon, which can be defined: 1) in dynamics: as a
process of accumulation and use of cultural, educational, social capital for the purpose of
professional self-realization and achievement of socio-psychological identity between
career competence, professional status claims and requirements of the environment (first
of all, the requirements of the labor market and the employer, in particular); 2) in the static
dimension – as the status and position (position) in the professional hierarchy achieved by
the individual at a certain point in time.
In particular, the sociological interpretation of the concept «price of a career» is
deepened and the following definition is proposed. «Career price» is understood as a 20

combination of self-restraint, losses and inconveniences (in general, negative or
undesirable consequences) on the part of the subject of a career that arises in the course of
professional activity and is a condition for the optimal realization of career competence.
The conceptual principles of the analysis of professional competence as a social
phenomenon are proposed, as well as features of its formation and development on the
example of student youth are revealed. On the basis of the analysis of the system of endo-
and exogenous factors (in particular, the factors of socio-psychological, socio-cultural and
institutional character) an author’s approach to the analysis of professional competence at
the micro, meso- and macro levels is proposed.
The author’s model of career competence of student youth is proposed as an integral
characteristic of the subject of career processes, which determines the ability to solve
typical and non-standard professional and nonprofessional problems.
In the dissertation the tradition of institutional analysis is deepened. In particular, the
features of the influence of social institutes and their agents on the formation of career
competence on the micro, meso- and the macro level are revealed. The institutional
influence of the higher educational institutions on the formation of the career competence
of student youth in the process of learning is analyzed. Recommendations on the
optimization of career counseling in higher education (with the use of such concepts as
proactive and limitless careers) are suggested by the author. Based on the indicators of the
level of career competence and the nature of professional status claims, the groups of
student youth («active-motivated internals», «external-adapters», «internals-adapters»,
«external-isolationists») are distinguished. These groups differ considerably by their
potential of the professional self-actualization and require different vocational guidance
support. First of the mentioned groups is «active-motivated internals» – students who are
characterized by the following characteristics: high level of purposeful activity in finding
career opportunities at the stage of studying at higher educational institutions; readiness
for a «high price of a career» that will have to be paid; representations of their own
subjectity and internal control locus; relatively high level of career competence. The
second group, «internals-adapters», is characterized by lower intensity of purposeful
activity for the search of the career opportunities, unreadiness to pay a high «price of a
career», internal control locus and average level of career competence. The third group,
external adapters, is characterized by a low level of career-seeking activity, they are
reluctant to pay a high price for a career, are predominated by the orientation toward
comfort and have an external control locus. Finally, «external isolationists» are
characterized by indifference to the prospect of career-finding opportunities, wholly
relying on external agents in determining their own careers.
An important aspect revealed by the study is that the level of career claims is
significantly exaggerated in all named groups. Accordingly, the most dysfunctional is the
orientation of the group of external isolationists, which combine a high level of career
claims and lack of activity in the searching for career opportunities.
Key words: career, career competency, professional aspirations, student youth.

Defence Date


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