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The Relationship between Personality and Perceived Career Choice of the University Students in Sri Lanka

Abstract

Choosing the career which most suits one’s personality is considered to be a significant factor for future success in the workplace. As there are certain careers that suit specific personalities, attention should be given when choosing a program of study which ultimately leads to a career. The main objective of this study is to examine whether there is a relationship between personality and perceived career choice among Sri Lankan university students.

This study was conducted using data obtained from 150 undergraduates of five different faculties (Management, Engineering, Law, Medical and Arts) and from three different universities in the Western Province in Sri Lanka.  Data was gathered using a mixed method of questionnaire survey and interviews. The Five Factor Model (Big Five) was used to measure the personality of the students and perceived career choice was based on their degree program. The results of the study revealed that there was no relationship between personality and career choice of the Sri Lankan university students. The qualitative analysis showed that there are other factors which influenced the career choice irrespective of personality, such as parental pressure and perceived societal status.  These results implied that students who followed certain degree programs may not necessarily like what they are doing as well as they may not be very successful in their perceived future career.  As such, it is recommended that student personality be factored into the career choice process for Sri Lankan students at an appropriate stage of their educational pathway.

Keywords— personality, big five model, career choice, undergraduates, Sri Lanka

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