Talent Poaching and Job Rotation

66 Pages Posted: 18 Feb 2021 Last revised: 3 Jan 2022

See all articles by Diego Battiston

Diego Battiston

University of Edinburgh

Miguel Espinosa

Bocconi University

Shuo Liu

Peking University - Guanghua School of Management

Date Written: December 28, 2021


The value of a firm's service lies both in its workers and its relationship with clients. In this paper, we study the interaction between client-specific experience accumulated by workers, poaching behaviour from clients and strategic rotation of workers by firms. Using detailed personnel data from a security-service firm, we show that an increase in client-specific experience increases both the productivity of workers and their probability of being poached. The firm reacts to this risk by rotating workers across multiple clients, and more frequently so to those workers more likely to be poached. We show that after a policy change that prohibited talent poaching, the firm sharply decreased the frequency of rotation which in turn increased workers' productivity. We propose a theoretical model that guides the empirical patterns and allows us to argue their external validity beyond our specific empirical setting.

Keywords: talent poaching, job rotation, outsourcing

JEL Classification: D22, J24, L84, M21, M51, M54

Suggested Citation

Battiston, Diego and Espinosa, Miguel and Liu, Shuo, Talent Poaching and Job Rotation (December 28, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3778068 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3778068

Diego Battiston

University of Edinburgh ( email )

Old College
South Bridge
Edinburgh, Scotland EH8 9JY
United Kingdom

Miguel Espinosa (Contact Author)

Bocconi University ( email )

Via Sarfatti, 25
Milan, MI 20136

Shuo Liu

Peking University - Guanghua School of Management ( email )

Peking University
Beijing, Beijing 100871

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