Globally the 21st century world of work is marked by continuous change. Add to this South Africa’s unsettled economy, and the result is fewer guarantees in job security. The challenge among the youth of South Africa does not rest at ensuring greater high school pass rates, but to provide effective career guidance. As part of South Africa’s current school curriculum, students are assessed to determine their interest and ability. We argue that personality assessment should be included in the assessment battery. An enriched understanding of personality preference not only prepares students for a suitable career choice, but also develops adaptation skills in the changing world of work.
JvR Psychometrics conducted a study with 10th grade learners from the Free State province (n= 141, 59% female). As per the usual curriculum procedure, students were assessed on career interest (Maree Career Matrix (MCM)) and ability (Raven’s Standard Progressive Matrices (SPM)). Given the proposed significance of personality, students were also assessed on the Murphy-Meisgeier Type Indicator for Children (MMTIC®).
It is important to report that the results indicated that there are no differences in cognitive ability between the different personality preferences. There was, however, a strong positive relationship between average academic performance and cognitive ability (r = .57, p < .01). The most prominent results showed how personality preferences linked to interest and confidence in specific careers. Significant results from Independent samples t-tests are presented below:
- Learners with an Extraversion preference showed significantly more interest in careers relating to Arts & Culture, and Sport.They furthermore showed more confidence in Musical, Art & Culture, and Sport industries.
- Learners with an Intuition preference indicated more interest in the Practical Creative & Consumer Science, Musical, Word Artistry, and Tourism & the Air traffic industries.They also displayed confidence in careers involving Practical Creative & Consumer Science, and Art & Culture
- Learners with a Sensing preference showed more interest and confidence in the Mathematics &/or Accounting profession.
- Learners with a Thinking preference indicated that they were more interested in the Practical Technical, Engineering & the built environment, and Research occupations.These students furthermore showed that they had more confidence in careers in Sport, Legal practice security diplomatic or civil services, and Engineering & the built environment.
- Learners with a Perceiving preference showed more interest in the Arts & Culture industries whereas learners with a Judging preference showed more confidence inthe Mathematics and/or Accounting profession.
These results emphasise that certain personality preferences will mean a greater interest and confidence in specific careers. In assisting students with career guidance, we cannot ignore the role that personality preference plays in finding a suitable career.