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Trait gratitude and job search: the mediating role of perceived employability

Jennifer A. Harrison (Human Resources and Organisations, Ecole de Management Normandie - Campus du Havre, Le Havre, France)
Marie-Hélène Budworth (School of Human Resource Management, York University, Toronto, Canada)
Michael Halinski (Ted Rogers School of Management, Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada)

Career Development International

ISSN: 1362-0436

Article publication date: 11 March 2021

Issue publication date: 4 May 2021




The purpose of this paper is to examine the influence of trait gratitude on job search behaviour (preparatory and active) for job seekers approaching graduation. The mediating role of perceived employability is examined.


Data were collected from job seekers (n = 143) in their final month of study in two waves with a one-month time lag between first and second data collection.


Structural equation modelling analyses revealed that trait gratitude was significantly and positively associated with perceived employability. Perceived employability mediated the relationship between trait gratitude and preparatory job search, but not active job search.

Research limitations/implications

This study extends research on job search by highlighting the applicability of trait gratitude to the job search process.

Practical implications

Career counsellors should consider trait gratitude as relevant for program development to address the self-regulation of personal resources during job search.


This study is the first step towards connecting trait gratitude to the job search literature. The study identifies trait gratitude as a distal personal resource important for self-regulation of a proximal personal resource (i.e. perceived employability) and subsequent job search behaviour.



The second and third authors contributed equally to the manuscript. The authors would like to thank Bert Schreurs and two anonymous reviewers for their helpful suggestions on an earlier version of this manuscript.This research was supported by a grant to the authors from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC).


Harrison, J.A., Budworth, M.-H. and Halinski, M. (2021), "Trait gratitude and job search: the mediating role of perceived employability", Career Development International, Vol. 26 No. 2, pp. 238-251.



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