Proceedings of The 2nd International Conference on Future of Teaching and Education
Contributions of interpersonal and intrapersonal factors to the career decision-making behaviour of STEM Students in South Africa
Abe, Ethel Ndidiamaka, Chikoko, Vitallis and Abe, Isaac Idowu
The purpose of this study was to provide a well-defined hypothetical context and corresponding empirical proof for connecting physiological and mental factors to individual learner’s decision to pursue a career in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) at a South African university. Concerted efforts by stakeholders in STEM to increase enrolment decisions by university students have somehow been unable to fully address the demand for skilled STEM workforce in South Africa. This has heightened the need to understand the challenges and factors that influence learner’s career decisions. A qualitative research method involving a descriptive survey was adopted for this study and the Social Cognitive Career Theory (SCCT) was used as a theoretical framework. The data was collected from undergraduate STEM students. The QSR International’s NVivo 12 software was used to organise data for ease of content analysis. The results suggested that three categories of variables namely 1) interpersonal factors e.g., family and teachers, 2) intrapersonal factors e.g., champion mentality, career interest in STEM, personality, personal development, self-efficacy and spirituality, and 3) career outcomes expectancy factors e.g., finance, and career opportunities and prospects, contributed significantly to the students’ career decision-making. Unexpectedly, peer influence was completely absent; this finding is inconsistent with extant literature. The use of SCCT as a lens to study career decision making behaviour of STEM students was strongly supported.
Keywords: Career decision-making, family influence, outcome expectancy, personality typology, social cognitive career theory.