Preferred occupations in mate selection : a study of students in two South African universities.
Marriage is one of the most significant aspirations in life. It is believed that marriage continues to be highly valued and most young people aspire to be married (Sussman et al., 2013). In fact a study by Beguy (2011) stated that marriage has become important for most young people. This is not unique to Africa and is found in Europe and Asia (Nugent, 2006). Studies have shown various reasons that influence people to get married. When making a decision in a potential marriage partner, people have several factors put into consideration such as; complementing each other, attraction to one another and occupational preference (Kendall, 2015). Occupational preference is a factor that individuals consider in spouse selection which has been studied (Malik, 2009). Although, research has been conducted in this area, the researcher found no study which looked at the students’ perspective. The current study was conducted to explore the occupational preferences of South African students from the University of KwaZulu-Natal and Durban University of Technology students in mate selection. The current study aimed to identify the most preferred occupations in mate selection among students and therefore by default, the least preferred or rejected occupations among the university students. To guide the study, a number of research questions were formulated. A total of 200 university students, including undergraduate and postgraduate students (100 students from UKZN and 100 students from DUT) participated in the study. A self-developed occupational preference questionnaire was used to collect data. Descriptive statistics (including frequency calculations and rank ordering of the data) were used in analysing the data collected. The results show that a total of five occupations were the Most Preferred (MP) among the participants. These were in the following order: engineer, bank accountant, chartered accountant, medical doctor and bank manager. Most of the occupations were under the category of Can Consider (CC) and some of these were marketing manager, farmer, lawyer and gynaecologist. The results also revealed that four occupations were rejected by the students. These occupations were taxi driver, gardener, cleaner and security guard. Therefore, this could mean that students will not prefer mates in such occupations. Also indicated in the results were the gender differencesbetween male and female, with regards to their occupational preferences. The implications of the findings of the present study were reviewed and some of the limitations of the study were highlighted, as well as recommendations for furthering other studies.
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