Understanding unemployment scars

To women in a meeting

How do recruiters make hiring decisions? How does experience of early job-insecurity / unemployment impact the chances of young job applicants?

This were the questions that NEGOTIATE researchers investigated and analyzed by running an employer‐sided survey with an integrated multidimensional vignette experiment in Bulgaria, Greece, Norway and Switzerland. Recruiters were invited to express their views on applications of candidates who experienced employment instability/unemployment, have different education levels, and gender.

To make sure that the results resemble outcomes of a real hiring process, the real vacancies were sampled, and recruiters who were questioned were behind the job advertisements. The aim of study “Understanding unemployment scars: A vignette experiment of employers’ decisions in Bulgaria, Greece, Norway and Switzerland” is to examine the role of employers play in the inclusion and exclusion of young adults who have experiences early job insecurity as an objective phenomenon in the labour market. Persisting consequences of employment instability and unemployment have come to be known as scarring effects.

The impact of education, economic labour market conditions and employment policies on employer behaviour were of special interest. What kind of job profiles are recruiters looking for and what experiences are examined with caution?  One  of  the  basic  problems  employers  face  during  recruitment  is the  limited  amount  of  accessible  information on job applicants. Within a short space of time and with limited resources, recruiters try to find out as much as possible about the job candidates’ productivity.

During the first stage of the hiring  process,  employers  often  have  to  entirely  rely  upon  limited  information  extracted  from  CVs.  The  questions  regarding what sort of information  they draw upon  from  the CVs in order  to predict  the  suitability  of  the  candidates  for  a  specific  position,  and  how  they  interpret  this  information  have  brought about many studies in social sciences building on different theoretical concepts: human capital  theory, job market signaling theory and employer discrimination theory.

Read the working paper 7.2 Understanding unemployment scars: A vignette experiment of employers’ decisions in Bulgaria, Greece, Norway and Switzerland (pdf)

PHOTO CREDIT: Markus Spiske / raumrot.com