Header

UZH-Logo

Maintenance Infos

Job history, work attitude, and employability


Cohn, Alain; Maréchal, Michel; Schneider, Frédéric; Weber, Roberto A (2016). Job history, work attitude, and employability. Working paper series / Department of Economics 210, University of Zurich.

Abstract

We study whether employment history can provide information about a worker’s non-cognitive skills - in particular, about “work attitude,” or the ability to work well and cooperatively with others. We conjecture that, holding all else equal, a worker’s frequent job changes can indicate poorer work attitude, and that this information is transmitted in labor markets through employment histories. We provide support for this hypothesis across three studies that employ complementary lab, field, and survey experiments. First, a laboratory labor market, in which the only valuable characteristic of workers is their reliability in cooperating with an employer’s effort requests, demonstrates that prior employment information allows employers to screen for such reliability and allows high-reliability workers to obtain better employment outcomes. Second, we conduct a field experiment that varies the frequency of job changes in fictitious job applicants’ resumes. Those applicants with fewer job changes receive substantially more callbacks from prospective employers. Finally, a survey experiment with human resource professionals confirms that the resume manipulations in the field study create different perceptions of work attitude and that these account for the callback differences. Our work highlights the potential importance of job history as a signal of worker characteristics, and points to a cost for workers of frequent job changes.

Abstract

We study whether employment history can provide information about a worker’s non-cognitive skills - in particular, about “work attitude,” or the ability to work well and cooperatively with others. We conjecture that, holding all else equal, a worker’s frequent job changes can indicate poorer work attitude, and that this information is transmitted in labor markets through employment histories. We provide support for this hypothesis across three studies that employ complementary lab, field, and survey experiments. First, a laboratory labor market, in which the only valuable characteristic of workers is their reliability in cooperating with an employer’s effort requests, demonstrates that prior employment information allows employers to screen for such reliability and allows high-reliability workers to obtain better employment outcomes. Second, we conduct a field experiment that varies the frequency of job changes in fictitious job applicants’ resumes. Those applicants with fewer job changes receive substantially more callbacks from prospective employers. Finally, a survey experiment with human resource professionals confirms that the resume manipulations in the field study create different perceptions of work attitude and that these account for the callback differences. Our work highlights the potential importance of job history as a signal of worker characteristics, and points to a cost for workers of frequent job changes.

Statistics

Downloads

18 downloads since deposited on 01 Dec 2015
6 downloads since 12 months
Detailed statistics

Additional indexing

Item Type:Working Paper
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Economics
Working Paper Series > Department of Economics
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
JEL Classification:C90, C93, J01, E24
Uncontrolled Keywords:Employability, work attitude, job mobility
Language:English
Date:April 2016
Deposited On:01 Dec 2015 15:53
Last Modified:08 Dec 2017 15:29
Series Name:Working paper series / Department of Economics
Number of Pages:45
ISSN:1664-7041
Additional Information:Revised version
Official URL:http://www.econ.uzh.ch/static/wp/econwp210.pdf
Related URLs:http://www.econ.uzh.ch/static/workingpapers-new.php

Download

Filetype: PDF (Version November 2015) - Registered users only
Size: 1MB
Download PDF  'Job history, work attitude, and employability'.
Preview
Filetype: PDF (Revised version April 2016)
Size: 1MB