Trending topics in careers: A review and future research agenda

J. Akkermans, Stella Kubasch

Research output: Contribution to JournalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

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Purpose – Virtually all contemporary scientific papers studying careers emphasize its changing nature. Indeed, careers have been changing during recent decades, for example becoming more complex and unpredictable. Furthermore, hallmarks of the new career – such as individual agency – are clearly increasing in importance in today’s labor market. This led the authors to ask the question of whether these changes are actually visible in the topics that career scholars research. In other words, the purpose of this paper is to discover the trending topics in careers.

Design/methodology/approach – To achieve this goal, the authors analyzed all published papers from four core career journals (i.e. Career Development International, Career Development Quarterly, Journal of Career Assessment, and Journal of Career Development) between 2012 and 2016. Using a five-step procedure involving three researchers, the authors formulated the 16 most trending topics.

Findings – Some traditional career topics are still quite popular today (e.g. career success as the No. 1 trending topic), whereas other topics have emerged during recent years (e.g. employability as the No. 3 trending topic). In addition, some topics that are closely related to career research – such as unemployment
and job search – surprisingly turned out not to be a trending topic.

Originality/value – In reviewing all published papers in CDI, CDQ, JCA, and JCD between 2012 and 2016, the authors provide a unique overview of currently trending topics, and the authors compare this to the overall discourse on careers. In addition, the authors formulate key questions for future research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)586-627
Number of pages42
JournalCareer Development International
Issue number6
Early online date9 Oct 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Career
  • Career development
  • Career success
  • Review


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