The Effects of Demographic Factors on Professional Career Success: An Investigation of Higher Education Staff in South Africa




professional career success, demographic characteristics, professional experience, academic staff


Professional career success has received great attention in the organisational management literature since the 1980s as organisations strive to attract and retain top talent, understanding the factors that contribute to career success has become imperative. Since it is an important topic for individuals, organisations and researchers, there have been efforts to comprehend the organisational elements and people-related factors that contribute to employees' professional career success. Located within the career development theory, this study aims to understand the sociodemographic aspects of academics that contribute to favourable perceptions of professional career success. Data were collected using a structured questionnaire on 253 male and female academics and the data were analysed using descriptive and inferential statistics, namely the Mann-Whitney and Kruskal-Wallis tests. The results of the empirical survey revealed that there were practical significant differences among academics concerning their job classification, professional experience, and their perceptions of their career as successful. Nonetheless, the findings reported no statistically significant differences among gender and age of academics and their perception of successful professional careers. Additionally, the results showed that job classification and professional experience of academics were significant predictors of professional career success since individuals with higher job classifications often have more autonomy and decision-making power within their organisations and departments. Individuals with more professional experience may have a better understanding of their industry and are required to comply with its requirements. These findings may enrich career success theories and offer developmental recommendations to support academics’ professional career success in higher education institutions in South Africa.


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How to Cite

Ngo Ndjama, D. and van der Westhuizen, J. (2024) “The Effects of Demographic Factors on Professional Career Success: An Investigation of Higher Education Staff in South Africa”, African Journal of Inter/Multidisciplinary Studies, 6(1), pp. 1–13. doi: 10.51415/ajims.v6i1.1216.

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