Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore objective and subjective career success and to identify factors contributing to career success among a sample of technical and vocational education and training (TVET) “late bloomers” working in Malaysia. Design/methodology/approach – Incorporating a mixed method design, the authors quantitatively surveyed 86 TVET graduates from two multinational companies, followed by in‐depth qualitative interviews with five high‐performing “late bloomer” TVET graduates. Findings – Quantitative results indicate that the respondents progressed in their careers both in terms of salary and promotions, while most were satisfied with their careers and felt that they were internally and externally marketable. Qualitative findings indicate that the success of the late bloomers was the result of a perceived good fit between an individual's strengths and the organization's ability to compensate, motivate and support the individuals in their career progression. Research limitations/implications – The limited sample size employed can only provide initial insights into career success levels and contributing factors of career success. The results may spur larger scale research on career success of TVET graduates in Malaysia and the neighbouring region. Practical implications – The paper provides important initial findings on the technical and vocational career line as an alternative pathway for Malaysian youth, particularly school leavers and underachievers, to achieve career success and enhanced social inclusion through higher salaries, job status and educational attainment. Originality/value – The paper highlights the unexplored potential of career success as a facilitator of educational attainment and social inclusion, rather than the traditional path of educational attainment first, followed by career success.
Education + Training – Emerald Publishing
Published: Sep 13, 2011
Keywords: Career development; Late bloomer; Objective career success; Subjective career success; Malaysia; Careers; Education and training