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Employability and the psychological contract in European ICT sector SMEs

Scholarios, D.M. and van der Heijden, B.E.A. and Van der Schoot, Esther and Bozionelos, Nikos and Epitropaki, Olga and Jedrzejowicz, Piotr and Knauth, Peter and Marzec, Izabela and Mikkelsen, Aslaug and Van der Heijde, Claudia M. (2008) Employability and the psychological contract in European ICT sector SMEs. International Journal of Human Resource Management, 19 (6). pp. 1035-1055. ISSN 0958-5192

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Abstract

This article explores the employability of information and communication technology (ICT) professionals from the perspective of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The first stage of analysis, based on over 100 interviews with managers of ICT supplier companies in seven European countries (Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland and the UK), showed most SMEs to have a generally ad hoc approach to managing the employability of their ICT professionals. Assessment and development plans were used primarily to keep skills current to business needs; however, the more developed northern European markets showed greater awareness of the 'high commitment' benefits of a more sophisticated approach towards career management (e.g. through mentoring or career planning). A second stage of analysis based only on UK interviews builds on this to propose a model of positive employer influence on psychological contracts through career and employability management practices.