The literature on career mobility has emphasized the role of perceived employability in handling occupational transitions. Following a multidimensional approach to the concept of perceived employability, this study developed a twosided model to analyse the self-employability perceptions of the unemployed. Combining two dimensions (beliefs relating to the occupational opportunities in the labour market and self-efficacy to intercept these opportunities), the model hypothesized four different profiles of self-perceived employability. The study aimed to verify this model and to explore how the different profiles of self-perceived employability are related to mental health, intention and motives for using employment agencies and reemployment outcomes. The research involved 136 workers who, after losing their job, applied to an employment agency. The study had a four-wave, multi-method design (questionnaire at the first contact with the agency and objective data on reemployment at 3, 6 and 9 months after the first contact). Self-perceived employability profiles were obtained through a two-step cluster analysis based on two variables (job search self-efficacy and perceived reemployment chances). The two-step cluster analysis resulted in a four-cluster structure, confirming the hypothesized model. The analysis showed significant differences between clusters, distress levels, and short- and medium-term employment outcomes: people who evaluate themselves as less employable have higher levels of distress and lower intentions to utilize the agency’s services. The relationship between the employability profile and reemployment at 3, 6 and 9 months shows interesting trends. Our study contributes to the literature on employability, highlighting the relevance of considering different self-perceived employability profiles of unemployed people. Moreover, its suggestions can be useful for career counsellors in profiling workers who are at risk of psychological distress during occupational transitions and who could give up searching for a job.
Keywords: Perceived employability, job search self-efficacy, unemployment, reemployment, mental health, employment agencies