The contemporary unstable business environment is challenging the concept of the “traditional” career in an organization, in favor of a protean career attitude in which individuals are characterized as having a strong sense of identity and personal values that guide their career decisions. Despite the relevance of the protean career concept, empirical research has provided limited evidence on its antecedents and outcomes as regards individuals who are at an early stage of their career path. The purpose of this study is to shed light on the behavioral antecedents of protean career orientation (PCO), and to investigate the relationship between PCO and individuals' employability. Data were collected on a sample of graduate students entering the labor market. The results, obtained through a Structural Equation Modeling analysis, provide new insights into the antecedents of PCO, showing that – contrary to prior research that primarily focuses on two competencies, “self-awareness” and “adaptability” – other behavioral competencies predict the protean approach. Moreover, the findings show a positive relationship between PCO and employability and perceived employability. Implications for the career management and competency-based literature are provided.
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