Sustainable Career Ecosystems for Sustainable Transitions to Work

Submission deadline date: 1 March 2025


Intertwined and fast-paced changes in the world of work, expedited by disruptive global events, have made the transition to work more uneven (Blokker et al., 2023). Given this growing uncertainty, career sustainability is a desirable output (Blokker et al., 2023). A recent integration between the Career Ecosystem Theory (CET; Baruch et al., 2015) and Career Sustainability has introduced the notion of Sustainable Career Ecosystem (Donald et al., 2024; Donald & Jackson, 2023), representing the multi-layered system in which the dynamic interaction between graduates and meso-level and macro-level actors may influence a sustainable transition to work.

The notion of Sustainable Career Ecosystem challenges early career research to a more in-depth and multidisciplinary exploration of the factors which influence the unfolding of a sustainable transition to work. It requires exploring the transition to work with a novel perspective that addresses the shortcomings of those perspectives that consider career development to rely only on the individual and their agency. Therefore, it allows accounting for the interplay of individuals and context across time, the interaction between different meso-level actors, and broadening the perspective to study sustainability outcomes not only for individuals but also for organisations and societies.

This Special Issue aims to collect relevant original research on the role of the sustainable career ecosystem in influencing a sustainable transition to work from higher education. Specifically, works on this special issue should aim to explore how the intricate interplay between new entrants in the labour market and multiple stakeholders in their ecosystem influences a sustainable transition to work.

The contribution of this special issue pertains to adopting a systemic approach to analysing sustainability during the transition to work. It is expected to provide new insights into the processes that underpin a sustainable transition to work in terms, for instance, of employability-related resources and capitals accumulation based on the joint influence of individual and contextual factors.

In relation to UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), understanding how the career ecosystem around graduates can support their transition to work may shed light on the factors empowering and preparing them. For instance, studying the interdependence among meso-level factors such as Higher education and Industry is expected to indicate the efforts and the strategies they should invest in education and learning in the light of technological and economic changes (UN SDG 4). This may nurture career opportunities (UN SDG 8) and address societal challenges such as poverty, inequality and social disadvantages (UN SDGs 1 & 10). More than this, analysing the unfolding of subjective transition-to-work outcomes, which are core to the career sustainability framework, may emphasise the importance of health and well-being in line with the UN SDG 3.

We invite researchers to submit their original research articles, reviews, and conceptual papers on Sustainable Career Ecosystems and their generative impact on sustainable transitions to work.

Baruch, Y. (2015). Organisational and labor markets as career ecosystem. In, De vos, A., van der Heijden (eds), Handbook of Research on Sustainable Careers.
Blokker, R., Akkermans, J., Marciniak, J., Jansen, P., & Khapova, S. N. (2023). Organising School-to-Work Transition Research from a Sustainable Career Perspective: A Review and Research Agenda. Work, Aging and Retirement, 9(3), 239–261.
Donald, W. E., van der Heijden, B. I., & Baruch, Y. (2024). Introducing a sustainable career ecosystem: Theoretical perspectives, conceptualisation, and future research agenda. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 103989.
Donald, W. E., & Jackson, D. (2023). Sustainable career ecosystems: Setting the scene. In Donald, W. E. (ed.) Handbook of Research on Sustainable Career Ecosystems for University Students and Graduates (pp. 1-13). IGI Global.

List of topic areas

  • The self-regulated behaviours of young people in accumulating career capitals/resources that facilitate a sustainable transition to work.
  • Whether and how the reciprocal relationship between the transition to work and other transitions at this developmental stage (e.g. financial, familial) predispose to or hinder sustainability.
  • How can the career ecosystem address diversity and inclusion issues to prevent social inequalities? How can it support non-standard transition trajectories and transition for disadvantaged groups?
  • The interaction between the career ecosystem's different meso-levels (e.g., industry and higher education). In which areas they can cooperate to help new entrants prepare for their transition to work?
  • How can individuals' sustainable transition outcomes reciprocate over time in sustainability outcomes for organisations and, at a broader level, for society?

Submissions Information

Submissions are made using ScholarOne Manuscripts. Registration and access are available at: journal’s ScholarOne hyperlink Author guidelines must be strictly followed. Please see: journal’s author guidelines hyperlink

Authors should select (from the drop-down menu) the special issue title at the appropriate step in the submission process, i.e. in response to "Please select the issue you are submitting to".

Submitted articles must not have been previously published, nor should they be under consideration for publication anywhere else, while under review for this journal.

Key Deadlines

Opening date for submissions: 1st September, 2024

Closing date for submissions: 1st March, 2025