Exploring emerging engineering professionals' perspectives on job expectations
This research study is founded on previous research on the engineering industry in South Africa. Current statistics indicate that for every 2,012 individuals in South Africa, only one has pursued an engineering profession. Therefore, identifying the job expectations of emerging engineers might reveal the concerns or challenges faced before entering the industry. This is further exacerbated by the low (16%) number of university engineering graduates. However, in South Africa this is not the case for all engineering sectors, especially the mining sector. The lack of attracting engineers into other engineering sectors is a concern. Therefore, investigating the job expectations of emerging engineering professionals will provide an understanding of their perspective on the engineering industry. In order to achieve this goal particular objectives have been set in Chapter 1 and subsequently addressed throughout the study. Chapter 2 has set out to explore and investigate job expectations and characteristics of job expectations within the current body of literature. An in-depth literature review has been compiled in order to provide a greater understanding of job expectations. Previous research conducted by pioneers such as Vroom (expectancy theory), Herzberg (two-factor theory), Maslow (hierarchy of needs theory), and Hackman and Oldham (job characteristics model) have been reviewed to indicate the interdependency of motivation and expectations. In addition, five models of job satisfaction were explained to indicate the relationship between satisfaction and expectations. Additionally, employee engagement, work engagement and organisational citizenship behaviour have all been explored in order to address employee retention. Employee engagement, work engagement and organisational citizenship behaviour provides a better understanding of commitment towards the organisation. Lastly, the happy-productive worker theory has been included to illustrate the beneficial relationship between a happy/satisfied worker and the organisation. The methodology that has been applied in this research study is described in Chapter 3. Emerging engineering professionals have been interviewed to reveal the job expectations. The researcher made use of quota sampling to identify emerging engineering professionals. Subsequently, the sampling method has been converted into a snowball effect since the researcher asked the first participants to be referred to other emerging engineering professionals. Semi-structured interviews were held in a comfortable environment. Participants gave their consent to be recorded and to be quoted in this study. A content analysis has been used to analyse the data and themes and categories have been obtained and reported in Microsoft Word© and Microsoft Excel©. The researcher has followed the American Psychological Association (APA) code of ethics. The results are presented and discussed in Chapter 4 and 5. The biographical information of the participants and all the information obtained through the interviews is provided in Chapter 4. Emerging engineering professionals have defined job expectations as an individual’s expectation on work demands, organisational expectation, working conditions, organisational benefits, remuneration, and co-worker relationships. Results revealed that half (50%) of the participants appear to be positive towards entering the engineering industry. The average monthly remuneration expectation was R27 500 and emerging engineering professionals have indicated expectation of organisational benefits to be a medical fund, organisational allowances, and pension fund. Additionally, 60% of the participants expected to work in modern conditions and the average expected working day has been expected to be nine hours long. Aspects related to the job, control, and overload has been considered as the major concerns. Emerging engineering professionals have also expected a work relationship with respect, varied interactions, and mindfulness, interrelatedness and effective communication. In addition, 50% of the emerging engineering professionals expect fast advancement opportunities in the engineering industry. Moreover, 60% of emerging engineering professionals have indicated a readiness to enter into the industry. Finally, in Chapter 5 recommendations for further research are identified. Firstly, it is recommended that research is done where job expectations of emerging engineers are compared with engineering professionals. Secondly, a gap in the current literature can be addressed by investigating the definition of job expectations more comprehensively. Thirdly, it is recommended that research is done where the ten job expectations are reviewed, since this research has identified knowledge, skills and abilities as a contributing factor in the job expectations of emerging engineers. Fourthly, a more comprehensive and diverse perspective of the current engineering industry is required to address the current lack of available literature. Lastly, the working environments of different engineering fields should be researched. Additionally, this research has found that knowledge, skills and abilities was considered an important factor in the evaluation of emerging engineers’ job expectations and therefore necessitates further investigation.