Thursday, December 6, 2018

Department Seminar Series - ROXANA BARBULESCU - HEC PARIS - Tuesday, January 22nd 2019

The Management Department
Department Seminar Series


Tuesday, January 22nd 2019
   Room LE CLUB  at 10:00  am

Theme:  “Outrunning the past? Prior employer status and job matching in the MBA labor market”

   Abstract: How external candidates are matched to jobs has important implications for job segregation and income inequality. Existing studies have found the status of prior affiliations to stratify opportunities in the labor market, meaning that individuals with past high status affiliations fare better in subsequent career outcomes. However, possibly because existing studies are limited to one industry, we currently ignore if alternative attainment routes may be open to job seekers who lack such high status affiliations. In this paper we seek to fill this gap by taking a view of job matching as a two-sided process comprised of sequential decisions by applicants and employers. While future employers may use candidates’ prior employer affiliations to evaluate candidates, candidates will also anticipate employers’ behaviors and consider their prior affiliations when evaluating their chances of success in different jobs. We test our hypotheses in the context of job searches of MBA students from a large international business school. Using longitudinal survey and archival data on three cohorts (836 individuals) and Fortune and Vault industry rankings of their prior employers (2586 distinct firms), we investigate the relative probabilities of individuals coming from higher- vs. lower-ranked backgrounds to apply to, get offer from, and accept offers in the main job domains in this setting. The results suggest the existence of alternative routes for attainment, such that lower-ranked job seekers recover some of their initial difference in income relative to the higher-ranked job seekers in their post-MBA jobs. Furthermore, we find that this stems from a final allocation of jobs across higher- vs. lower-ranked candidates that is driven primarily by the job seekers’ application decisions and only secondarily by employers’ offers decisions. Lower-ranked job seekers tend to move more across domains, such that they are disproportionately more likely to apply to – and sometimes even to receive offers in – positions in job domains different than their prior background, albeit with some important limitations. Our findings have implications for research on status and attainment, distribution of human capital resources among firms, and the conceptualization of relative status hierarchies in labor markets.