Purpose The purpose of this paper is to investigate whether young people's peer networks can be an asset in finding employment during the transition from school to work. It examines whether peer networks size and peers' self-efficacy regarding their own job search are associated with job seekers' career-relevant behaviors and outcomes, i.e., the number of applications completed and the number of job offers received.
Design/methodology/approach Associations between job seekers' peer networks and their job search behaviors and outcomes were investigated during their final year of vocational training. Sociometric measures were used to assess young people's peer network size. Sociometric and self-report measures were used to establish the characteristics of the peers that comprise each job seekers' network, resulting in the overall self-efficacy across each job seekers' network.
Findings The results show that peers' efficacy beliefs are positively associated with young people's engagement in job search activities (i.e. a greater number of applications completed) and indirectly associated with their job search outcomes (i.e. a greater number of job offers, which are mediated by the number of applications) that are independent of the peer network size.
Originality/value The results underline that although peers might not provide instrumental support, encouraging interactions with (efficacious) peers may nonetheless be beneficial to young job seekers. Methodologically, the results demonstrate that the operationalization of self-efficacy as a network characteristic might provide us with valuable insights into the characteristics that turn social networks into beneficial social resources.
- Social networks
- Vocational education and training
- School-to-work transition
- SOCIAL COGNITIVE THEORY
- FAMILY AFFLUENCE SCALE
- JOB SEARCH