Mature age job seekers: the role of proactivity

Zacher, Hannes & Bock, Angelika (2014) Mature age job seekers: the role of proactivity. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 29(8), pp. 1082-1097.

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In the context of demographic and economic changes, helping mature age job seekers find employment is imperative. The purpose of this paper is to examine mature age job seekers’ proactive personality as a moderator of the relationship between age and job search intensity; and to examine job search self-efficacy as a mediator of this moderation effect. It was hypothesized that the generally negative relationships between age and job search self-efficacy and intensity are weaker among job seekers with a more proactive personality.


In total, 188 job seekers between 40 and 64 years completed an online questionnaire. Data were analyzed using structural equation modeling.


Consistent with previous research, age was negatively related to job search intensity. Proactive personality was positively related to job search intensity and moderated the relationship between age and job search intensity. Extending previous research, proactive personality also positively predicted job search self-efficacy and moderated the relationship between age and job search self-efficacy which, in turn, positively predicted job search intensity.

Research limitations/implications

Potential limitations of the study include the cross-sectional design, sample selectivity, and the omission of possibly important control variables.

Practical implications

Practitioners, organizations, and societies concerned with helping mature age job seekers find employment could provide additional support to those with a less proactive personality and low job search self-efficacy.


This study extends previous research by showing that mature age job seekers’ job search self-efficacy mediates the moderating effect of proactive personality on the relationship between age and job search intensity.

Impact and interest:

4 citations in Scopus
5 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 92348
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Employment, Proactive personality, Unemployment, Age discrimination, Age groups, Self-efficacy, Age, Job loss, Ageing (biology), Older workers, Job search, Job seekers
DOI: 10.1108/JMP-05-2012-0158
ISSN: 0268-3946
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > BUSINESS AND MANAGEMENT (150300) > Organisational Behaviour (150311)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Copyright Owner: Copyright Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Deposited On: 01 Feb 2016 04:20
Last Modified: 26 Jun 2017 22:01

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