Segmenting Distance Learners on the Basis of their Career Awareness and Perceived Employability: A Study of PG Economics Students of University of Jammu
Keywords:distance learners, master's degree in economics, career awareness, factor analysis, cluster analysis, SPSS
This research explored the factors affecting awareness regarding graduate career prospects for distance learners of Economics, studying at the Directorate of Distance Education, University of Jammu, India. Distance learners completed a questionnaire about students' career intentions and motivation for undertaking the subject. Exploratory Factor Analysis (EFA) and Cluster Analysis were used to cluster these students into groups "based upon their perceptions and awareness" of graduate careers. The distance learners were aware of the career opportunities available to MA Economics graduates. Their awareness emerged as the most significant factor. However, they also show 'Perceived Poor job prospects'. Two clusters emerged: 'highly motivated learners' and 'moderately motivated learners'. The item 'Those studying for academics and competitive exams simultaneously don't achieve anything in life' emerged as the most influential in forming the clusters. The findings highlight an urgent need for early counselling for these students. Their competitive inclination can be seen from their response to the question 'Why distance mode was chosen', as 47% responded that it was due to their preparing for the competitive exams simultaneously. Their job preferences for the banking sector (26.3%), education sector (22.5%) or acceptance of any job (16.5%) show that their pursuit of a Master's degree in Economics was not an influencer in their career orientation. The learners have not realized their potential yet, due to which they are willing to take up any job, thus underutilizing their special skills learned after completing the Master's degree in Economics.
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Copyright (c) 2022 Neelam Choudhary
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