Sustainable Careers in times of COVID-19 From the perception of young professionals

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This research contributes to the literature of sustainable careers by examining how young professionals value building a sustainable career in their first job that they acquired during COVID-19. The data was collected by conducting semi-structured interviews with nine young professionals who started working at their first job during COVID-19. The data was analysed by using template analysis. The findings show that the value a young professional holds towards building a sustainable career depends on what phase he or she is in at the time. Different factors during such phase, such as the pressures of having a first job and the COVID-19 restrictions, played an important role in whether the young professional valued building a sustainable career at the time. Nevertheless, once the happiness, health and/or productivity got affected to a point where it negatively affected their daily wellbeing, a majority of the young professionals did take action to safeguard one of the characteristics. At that time, the importance of their wellbeing outweighed the pressures they dealt with surrounding their first job. All in all, one can say that most young professionals eventually do value building a sustainable career once they experienced the importance of safeguarding their happiness, health, and productivity. One of the limitations of this research is that a relatively small scope of nine respondents within rather similar contexts (working from home) were interviewed. More research is needed with young professionals who experienced different types of contexts to fully understand the concepts of sustainable careers with regard to young professionals. The findings enable HR professionals to develop new HR practices that support young professionals in times of a pandemic and help them with building a sustainable career.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen