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What signals do employers use when hiring? Evidence from a survey experiment in the apprenticeship market

by Flavia Fossati, Anna Wilson and Giuliano Bonoli, University of Lausanne

Labour&welfare Lunch Seminar
11 January 2018, h. 12.30

Presenter: Flavia Fossati (University of Lausanne)
Discussant: Fedra Negri (University of Milan)

SPS Seminar Room (Room 215, II Floor,  Passione side)
Dipartimento di Scienze sociali e politiche
Via Conservatorio 7, Milano

How do employers use different types of signals – that is, information believed to be associated with productivity – when hiring apprentices? We use a survey experiment, qualitative survey data and interviews in Switzerland – a country with a well-developed dual training system – to study employers’ hiring behaviour. The results reveal that whenever possible, employers resort to hard signals, i.e., educational credentials and aptitude test scores, when making hiring decisions. However, in contexts of high uncertainty, notably, when candidates’ profiles convey ambiguous signals, they resort to soft signals, i.e., nationality and socio-economic status indicators, to complement their assessments. Consequently, in contexts of high uncertainty, candidates with a foreign origin and lower socio-economic status are more likely to be discriminated against in the apprenticeship market.

The Labor & Welfare Lunch Seminars are a forum for discussion and exchange of ideas devised by a group of post-doctoral fellows from the Department of Social and Political Sciences where young researchers dealing with issues related to the labor market, labor and welfare policies and industrial relations can present and discuss their work.

03 gennaio 2018
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