The Impact of Environmental Factors on Undergraduates’ Career Decision Making

S.  Thivyaashani
The Impact of Environmental Factors on Undergraduates’  Career Decision Making

ABSTRACT
The career and a person’s career choice are playing a vital role and not only on his or her life also in the economic growth. Students are the future leaders and their career decisions will determine the future of the world. This study is aimed to identify the positive impact of Environmental Factors on Undergraduates’ Career Decision Making. The population of this study focused all undergraduates in the Eastern University, Sri Lanka and the sample was selected from final year Undergraduates from faculty of Commerce & Management of Eastern University. The descriptive research was used with the respondents of 100 Undergraduates as a stratified sample and the cross-sectional design was used to analyze the collection of data from the selected sample through closed ended questionnaires and the analysis was conducted by SPSS with the measures at levels of Univariate, Bivariate, and Multivariate along with Research Hypothesis. Environmental Factors discusses using three sub variables of Family Background, Social Factors, and Economical Factors. The findings of the present study suggest that the Environmental Factors is having the positive relationship with Undergraduates’ Career Decision Making.
Keywords:  Environmental Factors, Career Decision Making, Undergraduates, Family Background, Social                                   Factors, and Economical Factors
INTRODUCTION

The human being’ life can be fulfilled when he or she achieves his or her career goals. It is the one that makes the life of human perfect as well as giving the meaning of the lives. As in the 21st century man has invented many things for the human convenience and comfortable, it all were come true with each of individuals effort and of course their career intention. The Career and a person’s career choice are playing a vital role not only his or her life also in the economic growth.
The students are the future leaders of the world. Their career choices are very important not only to them although to the world. The world has changed now as a business world. With the advent of the globalization and rapidly changing work environment many organizations confront with the enormous challenges for surviving with the competitive business arena. The organizations which are functioning in its own industrial setting often pay rigorous attention on how to gain competitive advantages over the rivalry among existing firms and new entrants.
According to Agarwala (2008) contend that though many factors may lead to gain competitive advantages managerial skills and competencies play relatively a significant role in achieving organizational success in a dynamic environment. Thus the demand for fully qualified, experienced and talented business personalities is increasing in the labor market worldwide. As a result of these circumstances, the universities and other higher educational institutes in the world are offering more advanced and updated degrees for the interested students. The knowledge, skills, attitudes and competencies gained through theses degree program will be strong weapon for them to compete with their counterparts while contributing in achieving organizational success.
Career choice of an individual has become a key phenomenon in the career .There are some factors affecting or in case of influencing on their career decisions. The past researches summarized that the Family background, career expectation, educational qualification, skills and competencies, and other personal, cultural and environmental factors may lead in making career decision. Further, different personal within the individuals’ network have greatly influenced on making the career decision.  Perhaps, several individuals may set their career goals depending on the others guidance overlooking their values, interests, personality, strengths and weakness.
According to (Salami olufunmilayo olamide and Olawaiye (2013), the student’s support system made up of parents, relatives, siblings, peers, teachers and counselors may be the most environmental factor. Although individual social status, income, lifestyle, choice of friends, mental and physical health is influenced by the type of work he or she does. Thus, a person’s career choice plays an important role in his or her entire life. The environment, the students who resides can make a much of influence on his or her career decision making.

PROBLEM STATEMENT
Students are the future leaders and their career decisions will determine the future of the world. Especially the undergraduates, the people who are the enthusiastic society, future leaders, creators, trend setters, and so on. In Sri Lanka there are 15 Universities, and every year they have been producing brilliant future leaders to the economy. Therefore understanding their decision of career and what the factors which affect their career choices are very important in the present scenario. The study is focused on the final year undergraduates of Eastern University Sri Lanka. When comparing the facilities, infra structures, transportation and other pleasant environment and except their quality educational services, this University is quite poor than other Universities in Sri Lanka. Even though there are almost 1000 students from all five faculties who are reading their undergraduate degree programs by balancing all those obstacles. It was immense an interest about to study their career decision and what factor really influences them to involved them into this path of studies.
The previous researches related with the students’ career decisions had found, the students’ environmental factor become their most significant determinant in their decision towards career although the study had explored the students directed by environmental factors an made them  make their own career decision (Salami olufunmilayo olamide and Olawaiye, 2013).
As far the researcher concerns that a few researches has been conducted in Sri Lanka regarding career decisions of the undergraduates and how the Environmental Factor impacts their career decisions. Based on the previous researches regarding undergraduates’ career decision making, the study has taken Environmental Factor and researcher examines this problem in this study to fill this empirical gap and get to know how significantly the Environmental Factor can play role in undergraduates’ Career Decision.
Therefore the specific research question is,
        “Whether the Environmental Factors have been affecting the undergraduates’ Career Decision making, particularly the Final year students of Eastern University, Sri Lanka?”

Based on the problems related to the factors deciding the undergraduates’ Career Choices the following research questions advanced in this study:
  1. What extent the Environmental Factors have been influence on undergraduates’ Career Decision Making?
  2. What extent Environmental Factors have been impacts on undergraduates’ Career Decision Making?
LITERATURE REVIEW
Education is a strong pillar for everyone to portray their lives in a well manner. Although it can be a remedy for to alleviate the poverty, ignorance, drought, excessive rainfall, mental deficiency, joblessness, bad government, poor communication system, hunger, inadequate shelter among many other things. Here of course, the decision regarding the career plays a vital role thus career selection helps students to make their future plans. The University, is place where placing and yielding a massive opportunity to students, to make their career choice decisions, that’s why  we are giving the name for universities as a Higher Educational Institutions although they are holding a higher place in educational qualification in each student’s portfolio. The choice of career is a delicate issue that requires caution and serious considerations. The kind of career the youths pursue can affect their lives in many ways. For example, it can determine where the individual lives and the type of friends kept. It can reflect how much education one will have and determine the amount of money one will earn. People desires from a career are different, many people desire high income; others want adventures while some others want to serve people to make the world a better place. Every student carries the unique history of their past and this determines how they view the world (Salami Olufunmilayo Olamide et al, 2013).


Career Decision Making
A decision is what decides and change persons’ entire life. The career choice is a broad opportunities that exist for lifelong vocations. These vocations are set out in a framework of strategies moving toward personal goals. Career choice is a process that includes experimentation, trial and error, decision- making and eventual judgment. Students must be made aware of this process; it has yet to be perfected (Salami Olufunmilayo Olamide et al, 2013). When making a decision regarding the career, have give importance in career planning. Career planning is the fundamental first step in the course of career development, the process of general and vocational decision making. This, however, implies that individuals are aware of their interests, skills, and values. Furthermore the individuals are assumed to have an idea about the world of labor (Parsons 1909). As career planning is of diverse nature, Gutteridge (1986: 52) defines it "as a deliberate process of (1) becoming aware of self, opportunities, constraints, choice and consequences; (2) identifying career-related goals, and (3) programming work, education and related developmental experiences to provide the direction, timing and sequence of steps to attain a specific career goal(Gunkel, Marjaana et al,2013). Career decision-making is related to an individual’s lifestyle as well as personal and professional satisfaction (Betz & Taylor, 2006).Some adolescents are able to make this decision quite easily and quickly, while others report having many difficulties with it (Rounds & Tinsley,1984; Gati, Krausz, & Osipow, 1996). Thus, for effective career counseling, it is important to know which factors influence career decision-making and related difficulties. Some personality factors and their influence on adolescents’ career decision-making (Sonja Pečjak, Katja Košir,2007).
Environmental Factors
The Environmental Factors   can have influence on Career Choice of Students. It can be proved by many researchers in the past years. Environment is the complex physical factor that make up our and in turn act upon us surroundings (Britannica, 2002). Environment is psychologists see environment as the physical and nonphysical space in which we start our lives, mature, grow and develop and eventually die. They could be physical, mental, emotional or social environment (Orji and anikweze, 1998).
Theoretical approaches to career choice are based upon two major theoretical perspectives of career choice and development: psychological and sociological (Brown, 2002). Psychological approaches seek to describe or explain the way individuals make Career decisions based on individual factors which include personality, interests, abilities and job satisfaction .On the other hand, Sociological approaches seek to develop a career choice that allows individuals to consider the relevance of a variety of factors prior to their career decision based on demographic and environmental. The environmental Factors have a significant role play in the Career Choice Decision. Environmental Factors refer to social influences, such as the impact of family members, school friends, community values and practices, the work environment, family connections, the labour market structure and the economic environment (Siriwan Ghuangpeng, 2011)
CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK
Hypothesis Testing
 H0: There is no significant relationship between the Environmental Factors impact on the Undergraduates’ Career Decision Making
H1: There is a significant relationship between the Environmental Factors impact on the Undergraduates’ Career Decision Making
The independent variable of Environmental Factors is a combination of three sub variables, such as, Family Background, Social Factors, and Economical Factors although dependent variable of Career Decision Making is combined of two sub variables are, Career choices and Available of Career Decision.
 METHODOLOGY 

Population of the study consists of the Undergraduates in Eastern University Sri Lanka and the number of the sample size was the final students from Faculty of Commerce & Management Eastern University Sri Lanka.
Primary data is originated by the researcher for the specific purpose of addressing the problem at hand. Selecting under stratified sampling method, the closed ended questions consider as more efficient and reliable than open ended questions. The questionnaire prepared for this particular study purpose is based on the two parts namely research information and personal information for 100 samples and collected data were analyzed using SPSS software.
The survey tends to have more ordinal measures than when any kind asking questions that requires respondent to order their answers and one of the ordinal measures called “Likert’s five points rating scale” is used to require respondents to order their answers as Strongly Disagree(1), Disagree(2), Neither agree nor Disagree(3),  Agree(4) and  Strongly  Agree(5).
RESEARCH ANALYSIS AND DISCUSSION

Numeric summary for Research Information – Environmental Factors
The table1 explains the independent variable of Environmental Factors and its dimensions such as, Family Background, Social Factors, and Economical Factors.
The dimension of , Family Background has high level at its individual characteristic in influencing the undergraduates’ career decision  where Mean X1 = 4.0800 .In addition, most of the students expressed the common opinion regarding the dimension of Family Background (SD = 0. 60266). It is also noted that about 93.5% percent of respondents have high level of dimensional attribute, while about 3.5% and3% claim a moderate and low levels respectively. It includes Parent’s Influence, Family Income and Parents’ Encouragement as the indicators of it.
The dimension of Economic Factors have high level at its individual characteristic in influencing the undergraduates’ career decision where Mean X2 = 3.9900.In addition, most of the students expressed the common opinion regarding the dimension of Economic Factors (SD = .61610). It is also noted that about 90% percent of respondents have high level of dimensional attribute, while about 7% and3% claim a moderate and low levels the respectively. It includes Economic Status, Knowledge of Labour Market and Free Education as the indicators of it.
The dimension of Social Factors has high level at its individual characteristic in influencing the undergraduates’ career decision where Mean X3 = 4.1033.In addition, most of the students expressed the common opinion regarding the dimension of Social Factors (SD = .57043). It is also noted that about 93% percent of respondents have high level of dimensional attribute, while about 4% and3% claim a moderate and low levels the respectively. It includes Living Environment, Society of Friends and Society of teachers/lectures as the indicators of it.
Altogether the Variable of Environmental Factors has high level at its individual characteristic in influencing the undergraduates’ career decision where Mean X4 = 4.0578 and most of the students expressed the common opinion regarding the dimension of Personality (SD = .44971). It is also noted that about 99% percent of respondents have high level of dimensional attribute, while about only 1% of low level of attribution.

Numeric summary for Research Information – Career Decision making
The table 2 explains dependent variable of Career Decision Making and its dimensions, Career Choice, Available of Career Choice.
The Career Choice has high level at its individual characteristic in undergraduates’ career decision where Mean X5 = 4.1280.In addition, most of the students expressed the common opinion regarding the dimension of Career Choice (SD = .55057). It is also noted that about 99% percent of respondents have high level of dimensional attribute, while about 1% of low level.
The dimension of Available of Career Choice has high level at its individual characteristic in undergraduates’ career decision where Mean X6 = 4.0990.In addition, most of the students expressed the common opinion regarding the dimension of Available of Career Choice (SD = .41480). It is also noted that about 99% percent of respondents have high level of dimensional attribute, while about 0.5% claim a moderate and low levels the respectively.
Therefore the dependent variable of Career Decision Making has high level at its individual characteristic in undergraduates’ career decision where Mean X7 = 4.1565. In addition, most of the students expressed the common opinion regarding the dimension of Attribution (SD = .46274). It is also noted that about 99% percent of respondents have high level of dimensional attribute, while about 1% low levels the respectively.
       Normality Test: Independent variable of Environmental Factors and its dimensions of Family Back ground, Social factors and Economical Factors were normally distributed.
Data Analysis:
This study is mainly focused on how Environmental Factors impact on Undergraduates’ Career Decision Making. In order to find how extent the Environmental Factors impact Undergraduates’ Career Decision Making, the Bivariate and Multivariate analysis were used and through that considered Correlation and regression to know the real impact. To strengthen the results, the each dimension under the personality evaluated by Multivariate Partial Correlation and Multiple Liner Regression.
The table 3 specifies the results of Pearson Correlation between Environmental Factors and Career Decision Making. The significance is at 0.01 levels (2-tailed), and Pearson Correlation(r) is 0.603. It is found as a strong positive influence between these two variables. Therefore, Environmental Factors significantly influence on Undergraduates’ career decision making.
To further identify the clear relationship among dimensions of Environmental Factors and Career Decision Making, the study has conducted Partial Correlation Analysis.
Table4 specifies individual relationship between each dimensions of independent variable and dependent variable. Family Background is having a strong positive relationship with Career Decision Making and other two dimensions having moderate positive relationship with Career Decision Making. Altogether Environmental Factors are having a strong positive relationship with the dependent variable of Undergraduates’ Career Decision Making.
  1. What extent Environmental Factors have been impacts on undergraduates’ Career Choices?
In order to understand the impacts on undergraduates’ career decision making, the study has undertaken the Regression Analysis. Regression is important for analyzing the variable in case of it isolates the role of one variable from all of the others in the model.
The table5 explains, p-value for Profitability is 0.000 (< 0.05). Hence, Environmental Factors contribute significantly to the model. Under un-standardized Coefficients, it explores for every time when student takes their career decision, the importance of Environmental Factors will increase by 0.620.Therefore,
 Table6, explains, the Durbin Watson statistic of 1.451 is not too far 2. Thus, data are independent. Therefore, the coefficient of determination (R2) is0.364.The fitted regression model explains 36.4% of the variation in undergraduates’ career decision making. Thus, Anova table7 specifies that p value <0.05, Environmental Factors contributes significantly to the model.
Conducted, normality test and resulted that histogram of residuals is symmetrical and bell shaped. Therefore, the assumption of normality of the residual terms is met. Also linearity test between regression standardized predicted value and residual value, hat resulted all the points are falling within ± 3.3 and the points are at random. Thus, linearity assumption and constant variance assumption are met.

Therefore this study can conclude that Environmental Factors having 36.4% positive impact on each undergraduates Decision making about their Career.

 Multi Regression Model with Independent Variable
pecifies that the R-Square value is 0.389, which means 38.9% of the variation in Career Decision making can be explained by the fitted regression model. The Durbin-Watson statistic of 1.525 is not too far from 2. Hence, data are independent.
The p-value from the ANOVA table is 0.000 less than 0.05, which means that at least one of the two variables: Family Background, Social Factors and Economical Factors can be used to model Career Decision Making.
When students take their career decisions, all three can play positive impacts. Based on the Standardized Coefficients Beta the impacts of Family Background is 0.347 which is about one time (0.347/ 0.336) higher than Social Factors and more than three times (0.347/0.117)higher than Economical Factors.
The p-value for Family Background and Social Factors is 0.000, which is less than 0.05. Thus, both are significant predictor of Career Decision making of Undergraduates. The part correlation of Family Background and Career Decision making is 0.297, with Economical Factors is 0.105 and with Social Factors is 0.311. Therefore, if Family Background is removed from the model, R2 will decrease by 0.088 (= 0.2972) to 0.301.If it is happen to both Economical Factors and Social Factors then they decreased by 0.378, 0.292 respectively. The VIF values are below 5, indicating that there is no problem of multicollinearity.
Conducted normality and linearity test and has resulted; the assumption of normality of the residuals is met. The Normal P-P Plot for the residual plots was close to the diagonal line. Errors were normally distributed. In the residual plot, all the points are falling within ± 2.5 and the points are at random. Therefore, linearity assumption and constant variance assumption were met. The model is valid and can be use for prediction.
CONCLUSION
Student’s career decision is what deciding their life, if they make a right career decision at a right time, of course they will grip success, and otherwise they will suffer in their entire life. The analyzed data conclude that the variable models are significant. Both independent and the dependent variables are normally distributed. The model is significant when it compare with the one independent variable. The independent variable is consisting with the combination of three dimensions of independent variable, the Family Background, Economical Factors, and Social Factors, from these dimensions, both Family Background and Social Factors are significant and Economical Factors is not significant. Conclusion of analysis part suggests that, Environmental Factors positively influencing on Undergraduates’ Career Decision Making by 36.4%.
Environmental Factors can play a significance role in undergraduates’ career decision making.
LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
  • As other empirical studies, this research might also have some limitations in reference to sampling, data collection, and generalization of the findings.
  • Number of Questions and statements are limited.
  • The research area limited to final year undergraduates only from faculty of Commerce and Management Eastern University
  • Some variable is insignificant and considered only one detriment variable with three dimensions
RECOMMENDATIONS
The study explores that Environmental Factors is having more influence on the selected Undergraduates’ Career Decision Making. The Environmental Factors as measures through Family Background, Social Factors and Economical Factors.
Family Background: Here the study focused on Parent’s Influence, Family Income and Parent’s Encouragement Parents Influence where the creation of support group of parents will have to be in place to sustain the student through times of financial, emotional and educational need. There are indications that students take the path of least resistance to enter the tertiary institutions. If a parent had exerted enough pressure on the student to enter a particular career field and the student had no current plans, then students followed their parents’ suggestion and that can be the more influencing factor in Students’ Career Choice Decision. Also parental influences have been recognized as a determining factor in students’ career decision making. These influences could be either positive or negative on their decisions (Darren Fizer,2013).Therefore the parents have to concern more on the current job market and influence them to take a right decision regarding their career. Family Income can be the total earning of the parents and siblings’ of a family. The Parental Income, the income level of families may determine what career a student chooses during a specific time in the student’s life; choices that will determine a large part of that student’s future. Some students will have to budget education according to their personal income. Parents’ Encouragement is very important for every child. Parents want the best for their children. Parents can best support their students by facilitating the decision making.
Economical Factors: Here the study focused on Economic Status, knowledge of Labour Market and Free Education. All of the career choices take place within the context of the economy. Several career theories, such as Social Cognitive Career Theory and Social Learning, address this context in addition to other factors. Events that take place in students’ lives may affect the choices available to us and even dictate our choices to a certain degree. Changes in the economy and resulting job market may also affect how our careers develop. Economic Status, many students believe that to live a comfortable lifestyle they need to be economically stable. When these students look into a major or a career path, they seek out the higher salary jobs or they look for majors that involve the most job security (Wildman and Torres, 2002). The financial aspects that students consider include high earning potential, benefits, and opportunities for advancement. Given the current economy, and culture, many students think they need a high paying job to make it in society these days. Along with stability during their career, some students may even look ahead to retirement. Students want to make sure they are secure for the rest of their lives, and may look into careers that have benefits to help them in the long run (Wildman and Torres, 2002).Therefore the Government has  to come out with legislation which may assured the permanent work for the graduates. Knowledge of the Labour Market plays an important decision makers role in Undergraduates’ career Decisions, Therefore the syllabus and course outlines should be modify in accordance with job market. If it is, then it will guide the Undergraduates and show the direction for the right career choice.  Free Education, as a Sri Lankan, free education can yield a vase opportunity to all children in the country and support the children to make their own decision regarding their Career. Therefore the government have to more concern on the quality of the services and continue priceless services in future also.
Social Factors: Here the study focused on Living Environment, Society of Friends and Society of Teaches/Lectures. The competence in career development is related to greater realization of one’s potential and a high degree of school adjustment. Social Factors can have a huge impact on the career choice of an individual chooses to attain. Personality, attitudes, and lifestyle all fall within the definition of social factors. When giving the  unique focus on the factors from the Social factors which affects the Career of each students, his/her environment, Society of Friends and the teachers have play a main role in made of a students’ career (Salami Olufunmilayo Olamide et al, 2013).The living environment, in career choice decision context the living environment, may influence the career students choose. If student who lived on an island may choose a career dealing with the water, or may chooses to leave the island behind, never to have anything to do with water again. Maybe someone in the student’s life has made a significant impact or impression, leading to a definite career choice. That can be more supports the students’ to decide his/her Career. Society of Friends can be an important source of support when making career decisions. This group may be able to help you identify your skills and talents, and their support can help you reach your career goals. Career decisions can also impact on them. Therefore the selection and relationship of friends can be very importance for the Undergraduates’ to make a right career decision. Society of Teachers/Lectures can help a student to do better in school, to get into college or to get on a better path. The impact that these adults have on young students can have a major influence on their career path. How students react to these lessons early in life can play a big part in what decisions students make down the road. A bad role model or coach can have a negative influence leading to bad life choices, while a good role model or coach can have a positive influence leading to good decisions (Darren Fizer, 2013).Therefore the society of lectures is having  the great responsible for to give great guidance, assistance and advises so on to Undergraduates. That may direct them to do a right decision regarding their Career Decision.

REFERENCES
Darren Fizer.(2013), “Factors Affecting Career Choices of College Students Enrolled in Agriculture”,Tennessee Ut Martin,13-         231-E05-4005/mehl,joe.
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James Franklin Pendergrass. (2008), “A Study of Career Choice Factors and Students’ Academic Success at an Aviation School”,   Oklahoma State University, pp.118.
Kochung Edwards and Migunde Quinter. (2011), “Factors Influencing Students Career Choices         among Secondary    School     students in Kisumu Municipality- Kenya”, Journal of Emerging Trends in Educational Research            and Policy               Studies,Vol. 2, No.2, pp.81-87.
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