New NEGOTIATE working paper on the consequences of employment in deskilling jobs for young people in Europe

For the past two years SOLIDAR Foundation has been involved in the Horizon2020 project, NEGOTIATE. The main objective of the project is to investigate the long-term consequences of early job insecurity for youth in Europe. In a newly published working paper ‘Explaining employers’ hiring decisions: A comparative study of employers’ risk assessment’ the researchers from the University of Basel, University of Luxembourg, HiOA-NOVA, Norway, the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences and the Panteion University, who are involved in the NEGOTIATE project, have looked into two types of early job insecurity, periods of  unemployment and job experiences in sectors that do not match the worker’s previously required skills (deskilling jobs). In order to investigate the scarring effects of early job insecurity on future employment chances, the researchers have conducted an experiment where fictitious CVs with varied employment paths and educational credentials were evaluated by real recruiters hiring for real jobs to measure the applicant’s employability.

The findings of this study contribute to the understanding of the scarring effects caused by employer-driven insecure job experiences, looking at country and occupational field specific settings. Scarring caused by working in deskilling jobs seems to be more likely in countries with strong employment protection regulations. Scarring caused by periods of unemployment, however, seems to be stronger in countries where the national unemployment rate is relatively low.  In addition, there are also differences in how recruiters in different sectors evaluate a CV and how a person has spent his or her period of unemployment. The paper also give grounds for caution when it comes to the debates around active labour market policies, arguing that short-term measures aimed at labour market reintegration may not be the most suitable if they don’t take job quality into consideration, as the research shows that work experience in deskilling jobs does not lead to a better evaluation by recruiters or employability.

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