Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Employer recruitment preferences and discrimination: a stated preference experiment

Mc Quaid, Ronald and Bergmann, Ariel (2008): Employer recruitment preferences and discrimination: a stated preference experiment.

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Abstract

This paper presents a novel approach of applying stated preference methods in the field of labour economics. Differences in behaviour and labour market disadvantage are connected to the presence, and ages of children, the so-called „family gap‟. There are major difficulties in collecting accurate information about the recruiting practices of employers and identifying their preferences towards different characteristics of new recruits. Employer answers to direct questions may not illicit reliable answers due to them having unconscious biases, confounding various potential employee characteristics, social or legal pressures on not appearing to be biased against certain types of potential employees or them practicing discrimination. This paper applies stated preference methods to identifying employer preferences to three sets of characteristics of potential recruits: age, gender and presence and age of their youngest child. This method is tested using face-to-face interviews with 52 firms. The results indicate that there are strong employer preferences against those: having childcare responsibilities for children aged under 5; and being over 50 years old. Employer preferences favour: those between the ages of 25 and 39; those with no childcare responsibilities; and women. This suggests that the influences of age, gender and children are crucial factor when discussing gender and labour demand.

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