The efficacy of hiring strategies hinges on a
firm’s simultaneous use of other policies
When an employer fills a vacancy with one of
its own workers (through promotion or horizontal transfer), it forgoes the
opportunity to fill the position with a new hire from outside the firm.
Although firms use both internal and external hiring methods, they
frequently favor insiders. Internal and external hires differ in observable
characteristics (such as skill levels), as do the employers making the
hiring decisions. Understanding those differences helps employers design and
manage hiring policies that are appropriate for their organizations.
Sexual orientation seems to affect job access
and satisfaction, earning prospects, and interaction with colleagues
Studies from countries with laws against
discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation suggest that gay and
lesbian employees report more incidents of harassment and are more likely to
report experiencing unfair treatment in the labor market than are
heterosexual employees. Both gay men and lesbians tend to be less satisfied
with their jobs than their heterosexual counterparts. Gay men are found to
earn less than comparably skilled and experienced heterosexual men. For
lesbians, the patterns are ambiguous: in some countries they have been found
to earn less than their heterosexual counterparts, while in others they earn
the same or more.
Greater representation of women may better
represent women’s preferences but may not help economic performance
Women's representation on corporate boards,
political committees, and other decision-making teams is increasing, this is
in part because of legal mandates. Evidence on team dynamics and gender
differences in preferences (for example, risk-taking behavior, taste for
competition, prosocial behavior) shows how gender composition influences
group decision-making and subsequent performance. This works through
channels such as investment decisions, internal management, corporate
governance, and social responsibility.
What evidence exists on whether bad bosses
damage workers’ performance, or good bosses enhance it?
A good boss can have a substantial positive
effect on the productivity of a typical worker. While much has been written
about the peer effects of working with good peers, the effects of working
with good bosses appear much more substantial. A good boss can enhance the
performance of their employees and can lower the quit rate. This may also be
relevant in situations where it is challenging to employ incentive pay
structures, such as when quality is difficult to observe. As such, firms
should invest sufficiently in the hiring of good bosses with skills that are
appropriate to their role.
Gender quotas for women on boards of directors
improve female share on boards but firm performance effects are mixed
Arguments for increasing gender diversity on
boards of directors by gender quotas range from ensuring equal opportunity
to improving firm performance. The introduction of gender quotas in a number
of countries has increased female representation on boards. Current research
does not justify gender quotas on grounds of economic efficiency. In many
countries the number of women in top executive positions is limited, and it
is not clear from the evidence that quotas lead to a larger pool of female
top executives, who are the main pipeline for boards of directors. Thus,
other supplementary policies may be necessary if politicians want to
increase the number of women in senior management positions.
Blind recruitment can level the playing field
in access to jobs but cannot prevent all forms of discrimination
The use of anonymous job applications (or blind
recruitment) to combat hiring discrimination is gaining attention and
interest. Results from field experiments and pilot projects in European
countries (France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Sweden are considered
here), Canada, and Australia shed light on their potential to reduce some of
the discriminatory barriers to hiring for minority and other disadvantaged
groups. But although this approach can achieve its primary aims, there are
also important cautions to consider.
Financial incentives and changes in working
conditions are key to many broad and tailor-made programs
Do workplace programs help reduce worker
sickness absence? Many programs are based on the principle that the
employee’s decision to report an absence can be influenced if it is costly
to be absent. Firms can reduce absenteeism by implementing broad programs,
including performance pay, general improvements of working conditions, and
strengthening workers’ loyalty to the firm. Specific programs, such as
grading partial absence, seem to be effective at reducing long-term
absences. However, firms will be less inclined to implement such programs if
they can shift the financial burden to social security programs.
Family firms offer higher job security but lower wages
than other firms
Family firms are ubiquitous in most countries. The
differences in objectives, governance, and management styles between those firms and
their non-family counterparts have several implications for the workforce, which
scholars have only recently started to investigate. Family firms offer greater job
security, employ different management practices, have a comparative advantage to avoid
conflicts when employment relations are more hostile, and provide insurance to workers
through implicit contracts when labor market regulation is limited. But all this also
comes at a cost.
This is a revision of the original article.
This is a revision of the original article. Productivity differences across firms and countries are surprisingly large
and persistent. Recent research reveals that the country-level distributions
of productivity and quality of management are strikingly similar, suggesting
that management practices may play a key role in the determination of worker
and firm productivity. Understanding the causal impacts of these practices
on productivity and the effectiveness of various management interventions is
thus of primary policy interest.