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FSD2789 Work Values and Attitudes of Students in Higher Education 2011

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Authors

  • Helve, Helena (University of Tampere. School of Social Sciences and Humanities)
  • Svynarenko, Arseniy (University of Tampere. School of Social Sciences and Humanities)

Keywords

employment, employment history, expectation, graduates, labour market, occupational life, students (college), temporary employment, tertiary education, unemployment, values

Abstract

The respondents were Finnish university and university of applied sciences graduates and students about to graduate, and the study charted their values and attitudes towards employment and society. The study was conducted using an online questionnaire which was available on the employment services webpages of Finnish universities and universities of applied sciences. The majority of the questions are based on Helena Helve's previous longitudinal comparative research. The identity horizon developed by James Côté has also been used in the questionnaire.

The respondents were first asked to which extent they agreed with several statements relating to employment, taxation, pay, job security, trade unions, employment policy, entrepreneurship, influence of the market forces, economic crisis, commitment to job, importance of work and success at work. Importance of various characteristics of the job and working environment were charted as well as how the respondents viewed paid work (e.g. "only as a means to earn a living", "a duty of every member of society"). The next set of questions explored the likelihood of possible future developments in employment and occupational life, such as increase in part-time or temporary work. The respondents were asked to what extent they agreed with several statements charting their values and attitudes, such as "Differences in the social standing of people are acceptable because they show how well people have made use of their opportunities" and "In my opinion, everyone should have the freedom to live as they see fit".

Work history was investigated with questions about participation in different unwaged activities (volunteering, work placement, internship etc.), experiences of temporary employment, and the number of employers. A number of statements charted the respondents' attitudes towards further education and career advancement. Attitudes towards temporary employment, the most important characteristics of a job and readiness to move abroad to work were investigated. The respondents were asked whether they felt they could have influence over their own life.

Background variables included, among others, the respondent's gender, household composition, education, employment status, self-perceived social class, type of job contract and size of the municipality of residence.

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