In contrast to earlier assumptions that the “ideal worker” should embrace traditional notions of career success, there is growing recognition that possessing holistic career values may be beneficial in the work domain as well. However, there is little empirical evidence to support this argument. We hypothesised that individuals who at the time of their university graduation possessed holistic career values would display stronger personal life satisfaction 20 years later, which in turn would enhance their work engagement (i.e. an individual’s perceptions of the extent to which the work environment possesses engaging characteristics).

Data from a longitudinal study of 158 university students who completed two questionnaires, one in 1992 and the other 20 years later, supported our hypotheses.

We found that individuals who possessed holistic career values displayed stronger personal life satisfaction 20 years later, which in turn enhanced their work engagement. We further found that this indirect effect of holistic career values on work engagement (through personal life satisfaction) is conditionally moderated by work–family interference.

Cultivating a holistic career perspective among employees is beneficial for both employee well‐being (i.e. personal life satisfaction) and the flourishing of their organisations (i.e. work engagement).

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