WP7 Negotiating employers


WP7 will study the role of employers as a driver of persistent individual labour market marginalisation in different institutional and economic contexts. The impact of education, labour market and welfare policies on employer behavior are of special interest as such policies are adjustable through political processes (policy-relevance). A comparative vignette experiment will be used to analyse employers’ risk assessment and negotiations in hiring young male and female workers in different countries. WP7 aims to:

  • Contribute to social science comparative method development by designing an innovative experimental design.
  • Implement a combined employer experiment and survey in four countries (BG, EL, CH and NO).
  • Develop and test a set of hypotheses on how different institutional arrangements (education and training systems, employment and labour market policies, welfare policies) may moderate employers’ risk assessment when hiring young workers, thereby enriching our understanding of the role of employers in determining the scarring effects of unemployment.

Description of work:

Task 7.1 Concepts and experimental design

Review of (a) conceptual literature on employers’ risk assessment in the recruitment of young workers and (b) the relevant methodological literature on employer-sided (vignette) experiments. In the conceptual work, we will focus on employers’ perspectives on unemployment experiences of applicants and risk-relevant social categories such as social and educational background, gender, migration status, disability and age.

Moreover, we will consider the relevance of country-specific institutional arrangements for hiring young workers (linkage of education and labour market structures; job dismissal protection and policies relating to ancillary labour costs; welfare-policies (e.g. parental leave policies); anti-discrimination policies). On the methodological side, vignette studies are applied as a tool for examining perceptions, values and attitudes in hiring.

The method is particularly suitable for uncovering social norms and attitudes that individuals are reluctant to share with the researchers. In short, the vignettes present hypothetical situations for the respondents (recruiters), who answer questions concerning different aspects of the cases (e.g. education and skills, gender and other ascriptive categories).

Lead partner: UNIBAS. Participant: ISSK. Duration: Months 1-7

NEGOTIATE Working paper No. 7.1: “Studying employers´risk assessment and the role of institutions, and experimental design” Download paper: NEGOTIATE working paper no. D7.1 (pdf)

Task 7.2 Four-country employer (vignette) experiments

Implement combined employer (vignette) experiments and surveys in four countries, which vary considerably with regard to their education and employment systems and that currently experience very different levels of youth unemployment: Bulgaria, Greece, Norway, and Switzerland.

The experiment itself will be applied to human resources managers and other persons responsible for recruitment. Based on the national random sample of real jobs, the respective recruiters will be asked to choose among several hypothetical job candidates, whose qualifications profile will be varied systematically. Vignettes, which describe young job applicants with different characteristics with respect to educational background, past job career and work experience, gender, age, and ethnicity will be used to vary job requirements and selection criteria.

A web-based approach will be implemented for employers to evaluate a series of vignettes showing profiles of hypothetical young job applicants. Background information on the company, as well as detailed characteristics of the jobs (based on a small random sample of open positions at the company) to which the subsequent vignette experiment will relate to, will be collected through a combined company survey. For each country, 600 to 1000 valid datasets will be collected to account for robust multivariate analysis on the country level.

Lead partner: UNIBAS. Participants: HiOA-NOVA, ISSK, and UPSPS. Duration: Months 8-20

NEGOTIATE Working paper No. 7.2: “Understanding unemployment scars: A vignette Experiment of employers’ decisions in Bulgaria, Greece, Norway and Switzerland”. Download paper: NEGOTIATE Working paper 7.2 (pdf)

Task 7.3 Comparative analysis of employers’ hiring decision

International comparative analysis: develop a set of hypotheses on how different institutional arrangements (education and training systems, employment and labour market policies, welfare policies) mediate employers’ risk assessment when hiring young workers.

If institutional arrangements matter for different levels of risk assessment among employers, we should find differences between the groups of employers in how they rate and explain employability across different educational and social groups in their respective national context. We are therefore especially interested in assessing the role of different institutional arrangements in hiring procedures and how these arrangements may impact on the transition to work in the selected European countries.

Lead partner: UNIBAS. Participant: ISSK. Duration: Months 21-26

NEGOTIATE Working paper No.7.3: “Explaining employers’ hiring decisions:
A comparative study of employers’ risk assessment”. Download paper: NEGOTIATE_working_paper_D7.3 (pdf)