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Statistical discrimination and employers' recruitment practices for low skilled workers

[working paper]

Bonoli, Giuliano; Hinrichs, Karl

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Corporate Editor University of Edinburgh, Publication and Dissemination Centre (PUDISCwowe)
Abstract This paper deals with the recruitment strategies of employers in the low-skilled segment of the labour market. We focus on low-skilled workers because they are overrepresented among jobless people and constitute the bulk of the clientele included in various activation and labour market programmes. A better understanding of the constraints and opportunities of interventions in this labour market segment may help improve their quality and effectiveness. On the basis of qualitative interviews with 41 employers in six European countries, we find that the traditional signals known to be used as statistical discrimination devices (old age, immigrant status and unemployment) play a somewhat reduced role, since these profiles are overrepresented among applicants for low skill positions. On the other hand, we find that other signals, mostly considered to be indicators of motivation, have a bigger impact in the selection process. These tend to concern the channel through which the contact with a prospective candidate is made. Unsolicited applications and recommendations from already employed workersemit a positive signal, whereas the fact of being referred by the public employment office is associated with the likelihood of lower motivation.
Keywords employee; recruitment; statistics; discrimination; hiring; unemployment; activating labor market policy
Classification Human Resources Management; Labor Market Research
Free Keywords statistical discrimination; low-skilled workers; employers' recruitment strategies
Document language English
Publication Year 2010
City Edinburgh
Page/Pages 26 p.
Series Working Papers on the Reconciliation of Work and Welfare in Europe, REC-WP 10/2010
Status Published Version; reviewed
Licence Deposit Licence - No Redistribution, No Modifications