Research conducted by psychologists of Valencia University (UV) and several Dutch universities has shown that university students who have a job related to their careers while studying, tend to have higher-quality jobs once they graduate and enter the job market, compared to students who have a job that is not linked to their studies while at university.
The study was conducted with a sample of 173 university students who had a job while studying. The horizontal fit of their projects as students (the relation between the content of their jobs and their studies) was measured two months before graduating, while the quality of their jobs as professionals was measured six months after graduating. The quality of the job was measured based on its horizontal fit, its vertical fit (the fit between the individual’s educational level and the one required by the job position) and the hierarchical level of the position. They found that 88% of university students who had a job related to what they were studying while studying, held job positions that required a university degree (high vertical fit) afterwards, whereas the percentage was just 52% for people who had an unrelated job while studying. Likewise, 44% of the people in the first group and only 18% of the second held senior technician or middle-level management positions.
As explained by Vicente González Romá, member of the team of researchers and head of the Research Institute in Human Resource Psychology, Organisational Development and Labour Life Quality of the UV (IDOCAL), “having a job with a horizontal fit while studying allows university students to apply the knowledge and skills learnt in the classroom in a real setting, to develop new skills that will be useful in their future jobs, and to develop contacts with other professionals, thus contributing to improve their human and social capital, and their employability.” Furthermore, he adds that students with these types of jobs are more selective when searching for a job after graduating. Due to this, and to their greater human and social capital, González Romá concludes, ‘they are able to obtain higher quality jobs’.
The study was conducted within the framework of a research project subsidised by the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (Ref.: PSI-2013-47195-R). And it can be found in scientific journal Career Development International.
Van der Heijden, B. I., Le Blanc, P. M., Hernández, A., González-Romá, V., Yeves, J., & Gamboa, J. P. (2019). The importance of horizontal fit of university student jobs for future job quality. Career Development International, 24, 239-256.