How Does Difficulty of Recruitment Impact Discrimination Against Applicants?

16459686135_28e21592cd_z[We’re pleased to welcome Stijn Baert of Ghent University. Stijn published an article in ILR Review entitled “Is There Less Discrimination in Occupations Where Recruitment Is Difficult?,” with co-authors Bart Cockx, Niels Gheyle, and Cora Vandamme.]

Do employers discriminate less when vacancies are difficult to fill? Theory says yes. Lower arrival rates of employees at vacancies increase the cost of discriminating because the foregone output when a minority worker is turned away is higher in that case. In this study, we are the first to test this theoretical relationship between hiring discrimination and labor ILR_72ppiRGB_powerpointmarket tightness in an empirical way. To this end, we sent out fictitious job applications of school-leavers, randomly assigned to individuals with a native- and a Turkish-sounding name, to vacancies for jobs requiring no work experience in Belgium. We found indeed that, compared to natives, candidates with a Turkish-sounding name are equally often invited to a job interview if they apply for occupations for which vacancies are difficult to fill; but, they have to send twice as many applications for occupations for which labor market tightness is low.

The abstract for the paper:

The authors empirically test the cross-sectional relationship between hiring discrimination and labor market tightness at the level of the occupation. To this end, they conduct a correspondence test in the youth labor market. In line with theoretical expectations, results show that, compared to natives, candidates with a foreign-sounding name are equally often invited to a job interview if they apply for occupations for which vacancies are difficult to fill; but, they have to send out twice as many applications for occupations for which labor market tightness is low. Findings are robust to various sensitivity checks.

You can read “Is There Less Discrimination in Occupations Where Recruitment Is Difficult?” from ILR Review free for the next two weeks by clicking here. Want to know all about the latest research from ILR ReviewClick here to sign up for e-alerts!

*Career fair image attributed to Global Health Fellows Program II (CC)

Michael Todd

Social Science Space editor Michael Todd is a long-time newspaper editor and reporter whose beats included the U.S. military, primary and secondary education, government, and business. He entered the magazine world in 2006 as the managing editor of Hispanic Business. He joined the Miller-McCune Center for Research, Media and Public Policy and its magazine Miller-McCune (renamed Pacific Standard in 2012), where he served as web editor and later as senior staff writer focusing on covering the environmental and social sciences. During his time with the Miller-McCune Center, he regularly participated in media training courses for scientists in collaboration with the Communication Partnership for Science and the Sea (COMPASS), Stanford’s Aldo Leopold Leadership Institute, and individual research institutions.

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