The authors surveyed 130 first-year university students (80% female; mean age 20.5) and assessed:
- the level of career compromise they reported between their ideal and enrolled university programs,
- their career-related strategies,
- their perceptions of employability, and
- their career-related distress.
Two strategies, seeking career guidance and self-presentation, moderated the relationship between compromise and career distress.
There was no moderated effect for perceptions of employability, although compromise was directly associated with these perceptions.
Thus, while compromise may be a normal aspect of career development, it was associated with more career distress when career development strategies were low and associated directly with more negative employment perceptions.
Practitioners might assist with career compromise by enhancing career development strategies.