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Massive study finds that a sizeable minority of us are in jobs that don’t fit our primary occupational interests

17 July 2018

In theory, our personal traits and interests should affect the jobs we pursue and where we thrive the most.

This assumption is baked into the Work Psychology theory of “person-environment fit” and it’s an idea that is foundational to services we depend on like vocational guidance and career planning.

But one of its key implications has until now been untested: that people who share the same job role will also have similar job interests. Now a surprising new study in the Journal of Vocational Behaviorsuggests that for many jobs, this simply isn’t true. 

The Michigan State University research team led by Christopher Nye used the Strong Interest Inventory (that measures interest in six areas: Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising and Conventional) to determine whether people in the same occupation were similar in terms of which was their top-ranked interest. 

Read more in a post from Alex Fradera on our Research Digest blog. 


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