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Peggy De Prins, Ans De Vos, Lou Van Beirendonck and Jesse Segers

In this chapter, the concept of sustainable careers is positioned within a broader framework of sustainable HRM. It broadens the scope from a single career-perspective to a more integrated HRM and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) perspective. ‘Respect’, ‘Openness’ and ‘Continuity’ are introduced as the three building blocks of sustainable HRM. Although interest in these blocks is not new in itself, our contribution lies in the critical reflection upon and redirection of existing HRM practices, systems and themes towards the ROC model. As such, sustainable HRM should be seen as a complementary perspective. Its aim is not to substitute the strategic HRM perspective, but to offer a correction given the concretization of the latter from a unilateral business management point of view. Sustainable career management, as a specific domain of HRM, brings respect, openness and continuity into the management of employees’ careers by balancing short-term and long-term needs, focusing on employability and work ability, following an inclusive approach, tailoring to individuals’ needs and providing career support.

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Edited by Ans De Vos and Beatrice I.J.M. van der Heijden

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Beatrice I.J.M. Van der Heijden and Ans De Vos

In this introductory chapter we will introduce the concept of ‘sustainable careers’ within the broader framework of contemporary careers. Departing from changes in the career context with regard to the dimensions of time, social space, agency and meaning, we advocate a fresh perspective on careers that recognizes the complexity of the career concept, thereby elaborating on existing career concepts, rather than aiming to replace them. Subsequently, we come up with a definition of the concept: ‘the sequence of an individual’s different career experiences, reflected through a variety of patterns of continuity over time, crossing several social spaces, and characterized by individual agency, herewith providing meaning to the individual.’ Next, we will outline how sustainable careers are conceived and examined theoretically or empirically throughout the different chapters of this Handbook.