An Empirical Study on Career Choices Among Undergraduates: A PLS-SEM Hierarchical Component Model (HCM) Approach

Siew Chin Wong, Jia Ying Lim, Chui Seong Lim, Kay Tze Hong


This study examines how undergraduates’ personality, parental and peer influences on their career choice. Partial Least Square, hierarchical component model (HCM) was used to measure the formative measurement model of personality construct and reflective measurement models of parent and peer influence constructs on career choices in the study. Data were collected from 218 of undergraduates from local private and public universities. Findings show that there are significant positive relationship between personality, parental and peer influences and career choices. Such insights are useful for HRD practitioners to develop relevant HRD interventions to assist individuals and organizations in career development. Limitations and suggestions for future research are also discussed.

Full Text:



Ates, S. S. (2016). The Affecting Factors of Career Start in Institutions of Higher Education: Application with Turkish Aviation Students. Journal of Social Sciences, 2(4), 27-34.

Baloch, M. (2016). The Attitude of Graduate Students towards Choice of Career. Insights in Language Society and Culture, 1(2), 86-107.

Barrick, M. R., & Mount, M. K. (1991). The big five personality dimensions and job performance: A Meta-Analysis. Personnel Psychology, 44, 1-26.

Baruch, Y. (2004). The academic career: a model for future careers in other sectors. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 64, 241-262.

Becker, J. M., Klein, K., & Wetzels, M. (2012). Hierarchical latent variable mdoels in PLS-SEM: guidelines for using reflective-formative type models. Long Range Planning, 45(5), 359-394.

Calkins, L. N., & Welki, A. (2006). Factors that influence choice of major: why some students never consider economics. International Journal of Social Economics, 33(8), 547-564.

Chan, W. S., & Ong, L. D. (2014). Boundaryless Career Attitudes, Employability and Employee Turnover: Perspective from Malaysian Hospitality Industry. Research Journal of Applied Sciences, Engineering and Technology, 7(12), 2516-2523.

Chen, C., Jones, K. T., Scarlata, A. N., & Stone, D. N. (2012). Does the Holland model of occupational choice (HMOC) perpetuate the Bean counter-Bookkeeper (BB) stereotype of accountants. Critical Perspectives on Accounting, 23(4), 370-389.

Diamantopoulos, A., & Siguaw J. A. (2006). Formative versus reflective indicators in organizational measure development: A comparison and empirical illustration. British Journal of Management, 17(4), 263–282.

Digman, J. M. (1990). Personality structure: Emergence of the five-factor model. Annual Review of Psychology, 41(1), 417–440.

Egunjobi, A. F., Salisu, T. M., & Ogunkeye, O. (2013). Academic Profile and Career Choice of Fresh Undergraduates of Library and Information Science in a Nigerian University of Education. Annals of Library and Information Studies, 60, 296-303.

Ezzarrouki, A. (2016). Peer influence on academic performance in a collectivistic culture. Educational & Social psychology. Retrieved from: content/uploads/2016/11/Paper-Ezzarrouki-Peer- Influence-Final Draft.pdf

Farooq, M. S. (2018). Modeling the significance of social support and entrepreneurial skills for determining entrepreneurial behaviour of individuals: a structural equation modeling approach. World Journal of Entrepreneurship, Management and Sustainable Development, 14, 1-35.

Ferry, N. M. (2006). Factors Influencing Career Choices of Adolescents and Young Adults in Rural Pennsylvania. Journal of Extension, 44(3), 1-6.

Forret, M. L., & Dougherty, T. W. (2004). Networking behaviors and career outcomes: differences for men and women? Journal of Organizational Behavior, 25, 419-437.

Goldberg, L. R. (1981). Language and individual differences: The search for universals in personality lexicons. In L. Wheeler (Ed.). Review of personality and social psychology, 2, 141-165.

Goldberg, L. R. (1999). An alternative “description of personality”: the big-five factor structure. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 59(6), 1216–1229.

Gunkel, M., Schlaegel, C., Langella, I. M., & Peluchette, V. J. (2010). Personality and career decisiveness: An international empirical comparison of business students' career planning. Personnel Review, 39(4), 503-524.

Hair, J. F., Hult, G. T. M., Ringle, C. M., & Sarstedt, M. (2017). A primer on Partial Least Squares Structural Equation modelling (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks: Sage.

Hair, J. F., Sarstedt, Jr. M., Ringle, C. M., & Gudegan, S. (2018). Advanced issues in partial least squares structural equation modeling (PLS-SEM). California Sage Publications Inc.

Hall, D. T. (2002). Careers in and out of organizations. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Hall, D. T., & Las, H. M. (2010). Reintegrating job design and career theory: Creating not just good jobs but smart jobs. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 31(2-3), 448-462.

Hashim, H. M., & Embong, A. M. (2015). Parental and Peer Influence upon Accounting as a Subject and Accountacy as a Career. Journal of Economics, Business and Management, 3(2), 252-256.

Henseler, J., Ringle, C. M., & Sarstedt, M. (2016). Testing measurement invariance of composites using partial least squares, International Marketing Review, 33, 405-431.

Hussain, S., Abbas, M., Shahzad, K., & Bukhari, S. A. (2012). Personality and Career Choices. African Journal of Business Management, 6(6), 2255-2260.

Ibrahim, D. M., & Mahyuddin, M. Z. (2017). Youth Unemployment in Malaysia: Developments and Policy Considerations. Annual report 2016, 99-105.

Keller, B. K., & Whiston, S. C. (2008). The role of parental influences on young adolescents’ career development. Journal of Career Assessment, 16, 198-217.

Kemboi, R. J., Kindiki, N., & Misigo, B. (2016). Relationship between Personality Types and Career Choices of Undergraduate Students: A Case of Moi University, Kenya. Journal of Education and Practice, 7(3), 102-112.

Kline, R. B. (2015). Principle and practice of structural equation modelling. Guilford publications.

Kniveton, B. H. (2004). The Influences and Motivations on Which Students Base Their Choice of Career. Research in Education, 72, 47-59.

Kumar, S. (2016). Career Choice and College Students: Parental Influence on Career Choice Traditionalism among College Students in Selected Cities in Ethiopia. International Journal of Psychology and Educational Studies, 3(3), 23-30.

Laughland-Booÿ, J., Mayall, M., & Skrbis, Z. (2015). Whose choice? Young people, career choices and reflexivity re-examined. Current Sociology, 63(4) 586–603.

Leedy, P., & Ormrod, J. (2013). Practical Research Planning and Design (11ed.) Upper Saddle River: Prentice-Hall.

Lent, R. W., & Brown, S. D. (2006), Integrating person and situation perspectives on work satisfaction: a social cognitive view. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 45, 79-122.

Lent, R. W., Brown, S. D., & Hackett, G. (1994). Toward a unifying social cognitive theory of career and academic interest, choice and performance. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 45, 79-122.

Lindholm, J. A., Astin, A. W., Sax, L. J., & Korn, W. S. (2002). The American college teacher: National Norms for the 2001 – 2002 HERI faculty survey. Los Angeles: UCLA Higher Education Research Institute.

Maimunah, I., & Efizah, S. R. (2010). Career Aspirations of R&D Professionals in Government Research Institutes and Multinational Corporations in Malaysia. Organizations and Markets in Emerging Economies, 1(2), 32-47.

Maimunah, I., & Hoo, S. L. (2014). Cultural values and career goals of the millennial generation: An integrated conceptual framework. The Journal of International Management Studies, 9(1), 38-49.

Maimunah, I., & Lawrence, A. (2007). Exploring mentoring as a tool for career advancement of academics in private higher education institutions in Malaysia. The Journal of International Social Research, 1(1), 136-148.

Maimunah, I., & Roziah, M. D. (2006). High flying academics: A question of career mobility. Kuala Lumpur: Pelanduk.

Malaysia Statistics Bureau. (2017). Labour forces survey report, Malaysia. Retrieved from

McCrae, R. R., & Costa, P. T. (1985). The NEO Personality Inventory manual. Odessa, FL: Psychological Assessment Resources.

Ministry of Education. (2015). Malaysia Education Blue Print 2013-2-25. Retrieved from

Natalie, M.F. (2006). Factors influencing career choice of adolescents and young adults in rural Pennsylvania, Journal of Extension, 44(3), 52-65.

Navin, D. S. (2009). Effects of dating and parental attachment on career exploration. USA: University of New Hampshire.

Ng, E. S., Gossett, W. C., Chinyoka, S., & Obasi, I. (2016). Public vs Private sector employment: An exploratory study of career choice among graduate management student in Botswana. Personnel Review, 45(6), 1367-1385.

Olamide, S. O., & Olawaiye, S. O. (2013). The Factors Determining the Choice of Career among Secondary School Students. The International Journal of Engineering and Science, 2(6), 33-44.

Olando, C. (2010). Counselling needs of adults. Lagos: Joy Press Ltd.

Podsakoff, P. M., MacKenzie, S. B., Lee, J. Y., & Podsakoff, N. P. (2003). Common method biases in behavioral research: A critical review of the literature and recommended remedies. Journal of Applied Psychology, 88(5), 879–903.

PwC, P. (2012). Millennials at Work: Reshaping the Workforce Malaysia. Retrieved from

Reitman, F., & Schneer, J. A. (2008). Enabling the new career of 21st century. Organizational Management Journal, 5, 17-28.

Roziah, M. R., & Maimunah, I., & Sidek, M. N. (2009). Towards developing a theoretical framework for measuring public sector managers’ career success. Journal of European Industrial Training, 33(3), 232-254.

Salami, S, O. (2006). Influence of culture, family and individual differences on choice of gender-dominated occupations among female student in tertiary institution. Women in Management Review, 22(8), 650-665.

Saleem, N., Hanan, M. A., Saleem, I., & Shamshad, R. M. (2014). Career Selection: Role of Parent's Prefession, Mass Media and Personal Choice. Bulletin of Educational and Research, 36(2), 25-37.

Stephen, M. K. (2007). Making Career Choices. Surgical Innovation, 14(1), 65-66.

Tan, L. M., & Laswad, F. (2006). Students' beliefs, attitudes and intentions to major in accounting. Accounting Education: An International Journal, 15(2), 167-187.

Taylor, J., Harris, M. B., & Taylor, S. (2004). Parents Have Their Say...About Their College-age Children's Career Decision. NACE Journal, 64(2), 1-5. available at:

Taylor, S. E. (2011). Social support: a review. In Friedman, M.S. (Eds.), The Handbook of Health Psychology (pp. 189-214). New York, NY:Oxford University Press, Inc.

Turban, D. B., Stevens, C. K., & Lee, F. K. (2009). Effects of Conscientiousness and Extraversion on New Labor Market Entrants' Job Search: The Mediating Role of Metacognitive Activities and Positive Emotions. Personnel Psychology, 62, 553-573.

Udoh, N. A., & Sanni, K. B. (2012).Parental background variables and the career choice of secondary school students in Uyo local government area, Nigeria. Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences, 3(1).

Van Hoye, G., & Lievens, F. (2009). Tapping the grapevine: a closer look at word-of-mouth as a recruitment source. Journal of Applied Psychology, 94(2), 341-52.

Van Hoye, G., & Saks, A. M. (2010). The instrumental-symbolic framework: organizational image and attractiveness of potential applicants and their companions at a job fair. Applied Psychology: An International Review, 60(2), 311-35.

Werner, J. M., & DeSimone, R. L. (2006). Human Resource Development (6th ed.). Mason, Ohio: Thomson South-Western.

Wilton, N. (2011). An introduction to human resource management. London: Sage.

Witt, L., Burke-Smalley, L. A., Barrick, M. R., & Mount, M. K. (2002). The Interactive Effects of Conscientiousness and Agreeableness on Job Performance. Journal of Applied Psychology, 87(1), 164-169.

Wong, S. C. K., & Liu, G. J. (2010). Will parental influences affect career choice?: Evidence from hospitality and tourism management students in China. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 22(1), 82-102.

Wong, S. C., & Quek, L. S. (2015). Factors Affecting Individual Career Management among Undergraduates in Higher Education Institutions. International Journal of Academic Research in Business and Social Sciences, 5(10), 56-68.

Wong, S. C., & Roziah, M. R. (2015). Protean Career among Professionals in Malaysian Electrical and Electronics Industry and the Moderating Role of Career Strategies. European Journal of Training and Development, 39(5), 1-25.

Youshan, B. B., & Hassan, Z. (2015). The effect of employee’s personality on organizational performance: study on insurance company. Journal of Accounting & Business Management, 3(1), 187-196.


Copyright (c) 2019 Siew Chin Wong, Jia Ying Lim, Chui Seong Lim, Kay Tze Hong

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

International Journal of Human Resource Studies  ISSN 2162-3058


Copyright © Macrothink Institute  

To make sure that you can receive messages from us, please add the '' domain to your e-mail 'safe list'. If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox', check your 'bulk mail' or 'junk mail' folders.