Gender Differences and Age Progression in Career Anchors

By Mengfei Cai, Jared R. Chapman and Bruce Brown.

Published by The International Journal of Organizational Diversity

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: April 4, 2017 $US5.00

Career anchor theory was developed by Schein in 1974 to describe personality constructs that govern career decisions. Since then, numerous researchers have attempted to understand career anchors in specific populations and to further develop the theory. In 1996 Feldman and Bolino wrote a paper which included fifteen propositions for testing or improving career anchor theory. In one of these propositions, taking their lead from Schein, they suggest that as people age and gain more life and work experience, their career anchors will become more salient. Until now, this proposition had never been tested. This article attempts to measure and compare career anchor salience between both young and old participants and participants with less versus more experience. Results show that contrary to Schein’s and Feldman and Bolino’s proposition, there was no statically significant difference between the salience for older versus younger participants or more versus less work experience. In addition, Feldman and Bolino suggested that career anchors need to be evaluated in more heterogeneous populations. This study responds to this call by examining the differences and degree of difference in career orientation between men and women. Results show that women are more likely to have career orientations including service/dedication to a cause and lifestyle and men are more likely to have career orientations including autonomy/independence, general managerial, and entrepreneurial/creativity. However, the effect size was small indicating that the career orientations for men and women are nearly the same.

Keywords: Career Anchor, Gender Differences, Age Differences

The International Journal of Organizational Diversity, Volume 17, Issue 1, June 2017, pp.1-9. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: April 4, 2017 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 933.734KB)).

Mengfei Cai

Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, West Virginia Wesleyan College, Buckhannon, West Virginia, USA

Jared R. Chapman

Assistant Professor, Department of Organizational Leadership, Utah Valley University, Orem, Utah, USA

Bruce Brown

Professor, Department of Psychology, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, USA