Statistical Discrimination and Employers’ Recruitment Practices for Low Skilled Workers

REC-WP Working Papers on the Reconciliation of Work and Welfare in Europe No. 10-2010

27 Pages Posted: 24 Aug 2010

See all articles by Giuliano Bonoli

Giuliano Bonoli

University of Lausanne - Swiss Graduate School of Public Administration

Karl Hinrichs

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: August 20, 2010

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: Statistical discrimination, low-skilled workers, employers’ recruitment strategies

Suggested Citation

Bonoli, Giuliano and Hinrichs, Karl, Statistical Discrimination and Employers’ Recruitment Practices for Low Skilled Workers (August 20, 2010). REC-WP Working Papers on the Reconciliation of Work and Welfare in Europe No. 10-2010, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1663737 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1663737

Giuliano Bonoli (Contact Author)

University of Lausanne - Swiss Graduate School of Public Administration ( email )

R.te de la Maladière 21
Chavannes-Renens, CH-1022
Switzerland

Karl Hinrichs

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

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