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Career success: fit or marketability?

Victor Y. Haines (School of Industrial Relations, University of Montreal, Montreal, Canada)
Salima Hamouche (School of Industrial Relations, University of Montreal, Montreal, Canada)
Tania Saba (School of Industrial Relations, University of Montreal, Montreal, Canada)

Career Development International

ISSN: 1362-0436

Article publication date: 4 November 2014




In response to the conclusions of a meta-analysis of career success studies (Ng et al., 2005), the purpose of this paper is to expand the range of variables being examined as predictors of career success by weaving the person-organization fit and external marketability perspectives into current career success frameworks.


A survey was administered in partnership with an association of human resource professionals located in Canada. The questionnaire was transmitted electronically to human resource professionals. The final sample included 546 full-time, permanent, human resource professionals from multiple organizations.


Confirmatory factor analysis supported the measurement model. In the final structural model, external marketability exerted a significant direct effect on career success. Person-organization fit was strongly associated with organizational sponsorship. Organizational sponsorship, in turn, exerted a significant effect on subjective career success.


This study contrasted and tested two theoretical perspectives on career success. The mediated indirect association between person-organization fit and career success provided support for the rationale of the sponsored mobility model of social advancement. The direct association between external marketability and career success suggests that success can be achieved even without organizational sponsorship on the basis of expressions of one’s human capital.



Y. Haines, V., Hamouche, S. and Saba, T. (2014), "Career success: fit or marketability?", Career Development International, Vol. 19 No. 7, pp. 779-793.



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