However, Mortimer and colleagues found that three behavioral and psychological factors could influence employment success in early adulthood: educational aspirations, career goal certainty and job search activities.
“Although structural factors like industry, region, etc. are undoubtedly important, these three characteristics are found to be particularly significant career transition resources,” said Mike Vuolo, an assistant professor of sociology at Purdue University.
Young adults who maintained high career aspirations and clarity of career goals from age 18 to 30 were more likely to be employed between 2007 and 2009. Furthermore, these adults typically had higher wages in 2009.
In contrast, adults who showed greater indecision in their career goals were less successful in weathering the depression, even when they achieved the same levels of education as their more-certain counterparts.
The study involved data from more than 1,000 young adults in Minnesota.
The results will be presented at the 106th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association.