Career decision-making among police officers and teachers: Prediction of career stability and mobility; and exploration of successful career change
Howes, LM and Goodman-Delahunty, J, Career decision-making among police officers and teachers: Prediction of career stability and mobility; and exploration of successful career change, ANZAPPL Conference on Crime and Punishment: The Rising Punitiveness, 17-19 November, 2011, Wellington, NZ (2011) [Conference Extract]
The difficulty in retaining experienced police officers and teachers within their professions is widely documented in Australia, the US, the UK, and New Zealand. Career change out of these once lifelong public service professions accounts for a large proportion of attrition. In an era where graduates are told they can expect several careers over the life course, some attrition is inevitable. Past studies have focused on the future career intentions of police recruits and pre-service teachers and have emphasised attrition due to individual and job characteristics, with less attention paid to the changing nature of psychological contracts and corresponding employee attitudes. This study had two aims. The first was to determine how well (a) initial intentions of career longevity within occupations, and (b) boundaryless career attitudes (consisting of both psychological, and physical career mobility) predicted career mobility or career stability within two occupations (policing and teaching), where attrition has been an issue. The second aim of this project was to identify and describe common elements of the decision-making process employed by people who made successful career changes from teaching or policing into other occupations. Current police officers and teachers, and former police officers and teachers who had made transitions into other careers completed online surveys about career decision-making. Data were analysed using a logistic regression. Former police officers and teachers who had entered new careers participated in semi-structured interviews to further elaborate upon the decision-making process leading to career moves out of public service. Implications of the findings for government agencies and public service managers are discussed.