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A previous trainee experience: does it matter for retention of young graduates?

Francisco Cesário (Universidade Europeia & ISPA Instituto Universitário, Lisbon, Portugal)
Maria José Chambel (Department of Psychology, University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal)

International Journal of Organizational Analysis

ISSN: 1934-8835

Article publication date: 8 May 2017




This paper aims to explore the extent to which participation in a previous graduate recruitment programme affects graduates’ organisational affective commitment and their desire to remain.


With the support of a Portuguese organisation that annually operates a trainee programme to attract the best graduates from top universities, a questionnaire with human resource management (HRM) practices, affective commitment and turnover intention scales was used, with data collected from 168 recent recruited graduates representing two groups: graduates with previous participation in the trainee programme and graduates non-trainees.


Despite the company’s expectation that graduate trainees would present higher levels of affective commitment and lower intentions to voluntarily leave than employees recruited by traditional procedures, the t-test results show no significant differences between groups. However, correlations for both groups show a significant positive association between perceived HRM practices and affective commitment and a negative relation with turnover intention. These results suggest that placing a high value on HR practices leads to reinforcement of employment relations and a decrease in the desire to voluntarily leave.

Practical implications

The findings suggest the need for organisations to rethink their recruitment strategies and raise an interesting question with regard to organisational strategy: is it useful or fair to create two groups of graduates within the same organisation, because we may be promoting the development of two micro-cultures?


The study with this specific group is needed because of an increased implementation of trainee programmes all over Europe as a means of attracting graduates. The literature is scarce, focusing only on trainees’ attitudes compared to those recruited through traditional procedures.



Cesário, F. and Chambel, M.J. (2017), "A previous trainee experience: does it matter for retention of young graduates?", International Journal of Organizational Analysis, Vol. 25 No. 2, pp. 270-281.



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