Self‐perceived employability: development and validation of a scale

Andrew Rothwell (University of Derby, Derby, UK)
John Arnold (Loughborough University, Loughborough, UK)

Personnel Review

ISSN: 0048-3486

Publication date: 2 January 2007



Employability concerns the extent to which people possess the skills and other attributes to find and stay in work of the kind they want. It is thought by many to be a key goal for individuals to aim for in managing their careers, and for organisations to foster in workforces. The purpose of this paper is to report on the development of a self‐report measure of individuals' perceived employability. It also seeks to examine its construct validity and correlates.


Based on the analysis of relevant literature, this study developed 16 items which were intended collectively to reflect employability within and outside the person's current organisation, based on his or her personal and occupational attributes. This study administered these items by questionnaire to 200 human resources professionals in the UK, along with established measures of career success and professional commitment, as well as questions reflecting demographic variables.


This article retained 11 of the 16 items for assessing self‐perceived employability. Concludes that self‐perceived employability can usefully be thought of as either a unitary construct, or one with two related components – internal (to the organisation) and external employability. The measure very successfully distinguished employability from professional commitment, and fairly successfully from career success. Only slight variations in employability could be attributed to demographic characteristics.

Research limitations/implications

This research has begun to address the gap in the literature for a brief yet psychometrically adequate measure of self‐perceived individual employability.

Practical implications

This author believes that the scale can be applied to other occupational groups, in organisational consultancy, and in individual career development. It can be used either as one scale or two, depending on the purpose of the investigation.


Concludes that this research represents a psychometrically adequate contribution in an under‐researched field, and will lead to future research with other occupational samples, and in other settings.



Rothwell, A. and Arnold, J. (2007), "Self‐perceived employability: development and validation of a scale", Personnel Review, Vol. 36 No. 1, pp. 23-41.

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