Perceived work uncertainties and expectancy-value as predictors of postgraduate intentions in the transition to work among Ghanaian graduates
Ongoing macro-level socioeconomic change has been associated with protracted and uncertain work environments for youth around the world and consequently, prolonged periods spent in education. To investigate this association, the present study combined elements from the Jena model of social change and human development and the expectancy-value model in a two-wave study of final year Ghanaian tertiary students (N=504; females = 54.5%; mean age = 24; SD=4.43). Their work demands; perception of growing work-related uncertainties, coping strategies, perceived social support, expectancies and subjective values in work and further education domains and postgraduate intentions were assessed over two waves. A mediation relationship was hypothesized between work demands and postgraduate intentions through expectancies and subjective values. In addition, it was expected that engagement and disengagement coping strategies and perceived social support would moderate the relationships between work demands and expectancies and subjective values. Regression results revealed no direct relationship between work demands and postgraduate intentions but a successful mediation through the student’s expectancies. Thus, work uncertainties affect student’s assessments of their abilities and success expectations, which, in turn, are an indicator of whether or not a student intends to further their education. Other results indicate that, engagement coping moderated the mediation relationship between work demands and education domain expectancies whereas, disengagement coping moderated the relationship between work demands and work domain expectancies. Perceived social support was not significant as a moderator but was significant in predicting postgraduate intentions, and expectancies in both domains and education domain values.