Original Research

Self-perceived employability among undergraduate students at a South African university

Doret Botha
SA Journal of Human Resource Management | Vol 19 | a1685 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajhrm.v19i0.1685 | © 2021 Doret Botha | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 31 May 2021 | Published: 08 November 2021

About the author(s)

Doret Botha, Department of Sociology, Faculty of Humanities, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa

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Orientation: South Africa has been suffering from persistently high levels of unemployment since 2008. The youth is regarded as the most at-risk group in the South African labour market and unemployment amongst the youth is considered one of the most critical socio-economic problems in South Africa. Increasing one’s employability is essential to securing employment and enhancing one’s well-being.

Research purpose: This study aimed to explore the self-perceived employability of undergraduate students at a South African university.

Motivation for the study: Currently, there is a scarcity of published research on the self-perceived employability amongst undergraduate students at higher education institutions in South Africa.

Research approach/design and method: The study was conducted within a positivistic research paradigm. A quantitative-based cross-sectional survey design was used. Convenience sampling was used to select the students who were included in the survey. Data were collected through a web-based survey, using a standardised coded questionnaire that consisted of a five-point Likert-type scale.

Main findings: The results indicated that the respondents were relatively confident about their internal employability, but they were less confident about their opportunities in the external labour market.

Practical/managerial implications: Understanding one’s employability and the accompanied issues creates awareness of one’s potential, skills and knowledge to become a successful citizen and employee.

Contribution/value-add: The study shed light on the self-perceived employability of undergraduate students at a South African university and consequently contributes to the existing literature on employability in the South African context.


external employability; higher education; internal employability; self-perceived employability; undergraduate students


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