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Avoiding Labor Shortages by Employer Signaling - On the Importance of Good Work Climate and Labor Relations

Author

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  • Uschi Backes-Gellner

    () (Institute for Strategy and Business Economics, University of Zurich)

  • Simone Tuor

    () (Institute for Strategy and Business Economics, University of Zurich)

Abstract

Avoiding labor shortages for skilled employees is one of the major challenges for highly competitive firms acting in tight labor markets. The ability to avoid labor shortages on the company level, for example measured by the share of vacant jobs, is distributed very unevenly and cannot in general be explained by differences in wages and compensation packages as standard economic theory would suggest. In our paper we present a theoretical explanation for large and persisting inter-firm differences in job vacancy rates. Many psychological studies show that unobservable job and company characteristics such as work atmosphere or individual self determination are crucial for employees’ job choices. However, since these characteristics are not reliably observable to an outsider, we argue that potential employees use other, on the surface nonessential company characteristics as signals for their preferred characteristics in their job decision. To derive empirically testable hypotheses we reverse Spence’s labor market signaling model and study how employers can reliably signal the quality of their work climate and labor relations to potential employees. We use a rich data set from approximately 700 firms to test our hypotheses and do find in fact that formal features of labor relations which on the surface may not seem relevant for recruitment success of skilled workers nevertheless exert significant effects on recruitment success and job vacancies.

Suggested Citation

  • Uschi Backes-Gellner & Simone Tuor, 2007. "Avoiding Labor Shortages by Employer Signaling - On the Importance of Good Work Climate and Labor Relations," Economics of Education Working Paper Series 0010, University of Zurich, Department of Business Administration (IBW).
  • Handle: RePEc:iso:educat:0010
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    Cited by:

    1. Mohrenweiser, Jens & Wydra-Sommaggio, Gaby & Zwick, Thomas, 2014. "Adverse Selection and Information Advantages of Training Firms," Annual Conference 2014 (Hamburg): Evidence-based Economic Policy 100525, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    2. Uschi Backes-Gellner & Stephan Veen, 2013. "Positive Effects of Ageing and Age-Diversity in Innovative Companies - Large Scale Evidence on Company Productivity," Economics of Education Working Paper Series 0093, University of Zurich, Department of Business Administration (IBW).
    3. Jirjahn, Uwe & Smith, Stephen C., 2017. "Nonunion Employee Representation: Theory and the German Experience with Mandated Works Councils," IZA Discussion Papers 11066, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Uwe Jirjahn & Vanessa Lange, 2015. "Reciprocity and Workers’ Tastes for Representation," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, vol. 36(2), pages 188-209, June.
    5. Samuel Muehlemann & Harald Pfeifer & Felix Wenzelmann, 2013. "The Costs of Recruiting Apprentices: Evidence from German Firm-Level Data," Economics of Education Working Paper Series 0095, University of Zurich, Department of Business Administration (IBW), revised Nov 2015.
    6. Ryan, Paul & Wagner, Karin & Teuber, Silvia & Backes-Gellner, Uschi, 2011. "Financial aspects of apprenticeship training in Germany, Great Britain an Switzerland / Finanzielle Aspekte der betrieblichen Ausbildung in Deutschland, Großbritannien und der Schweiz," Arbeitspapiere 241, Hans-Böckler-Stiftung, Düsseldorf.
    7. Mohrenweiser, Jens & Zwick, Thomas & Backes-Gellner, Uschi, 2013. "Poaching and firm-sponsored training: First clean evidence," ZEW Discussion Papers 13-037, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    8. Jirjahn, Uwe & Mohrenweiser, Jens, 2013. "Active owners and the failure of newly adopted works councils," ZEW Discussion Papers 13-080, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    9. Uschi Backes-Gellner, 2014. "Benefits of Apprenticeship Training and Recent Challenges - Empirical Results and Lessons from Switzerland and Germany," Economics of Education Working Paper Series 0097, University of Zurich, Department of Business Administration (IBW).
    10. Healy, Joshua & Mavromaras, Kostas G. & Sloane, Peter J., 2011. "Adjusting to Skill Shortages: Complexity and Consequences," IZA Discussion Papers 6097, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    11. Simone Tuor & Uschi Backes-Gellner, 2009. "Time - Even More Costly Than Money: Training Costs of Workers and Firms," Economics of Education Working Paper Series 0046, University of Zurich, Department of Business Administration (IBW).
    12. Samuel Muehlemann, 2013. "Der Einfluss der Internationalisierung auf die arbeitsmarktorientierte Bildung," Economics of Education Working Paper Series 0092, University of Zurich, Department of Business Administration (IBW).
    13. Sharma, Kishor & Oczkowski, Edward & Hicks, John, 2016. "Skill shortages in regional Australia: A local perspective from the Riverina," Economic Analysis and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 34-44.
    14. Bellmann, Lutz & Hübler, Olaf, 2014. "Skill Shortages in German Establishments," IZA Discussion Papers 8290, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    15. Verena Dill & Uwe Jirjahn, 2013. "Foreign Owners and the Quality of Industrial Relations in Germany," Research Papers in Economics 2013-07, University of Trier, Department of Economics.
    16. Ben Kriechel & Samuel Muehlemann & Harald Pfeifer & Miriam Schuette, 2011. "Works councils, collective bargaining and apprenticeship training," Economics of Education Working Paper Series 0057, University of Zurich, Department of Business Administration (IBW).
    17. Hammermann, Andrea & Mohnen, Alwine, 2012. "Who Benefits from Benefits? Empirical Research on Tangible Incentives," IZA Discussion Papers 6284, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Further training; Investing in Human Capital; Costs-Benefit Ratio;

    JEL classification:

    • M5 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics
    • M12 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - Personnel Management; Executives; Executive Compensation
    • M53 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Training

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