Making Job Seeking Easier for Women
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Making Job Seeking Easier for Women

ALEXIA DELFINO OBTAINED A NBER GRANT TO TEST A TECHNOLOGICAL TOOL THAT COULD BENEFIT JOBSEEKERS, EMPLOYMENT CENTER WORKERS AND THE ECONOMY AS A WHOLE

Alexia Delfino, Assistant Professor at Bocconi Department of Economics, obtained a grant from the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) for a project that aims to make job-seeking easier, especially for women, and employment centers more effective.
 
Together with Raffaella Sadun (Harvard Business School), she proposed to test the effects of an innovative technological tool aimed at providing unemployed jobseekers with highly individualized information on their skills, and their skill-match within different occupations for which there exists robust demand. The tool was developed by PHYD, a not-for-profit spin-off of Microsoft and Adecco, with inputs from the two scholars and will be tested in the employment centers of Lombardy (AFOL Metropolitana).
 
The theory which will be tested along with the technological tool is that informational, psychological, and time-related frictions may inhibit jobseekers’ ability to effectively engage in a productive job search, and that women are particularly exposed to such frictions.
 
Limited information on the transformations occurring in the labor market might induce jobseekers to be overly optimistic about their ability to find employment without engaging in further training or reskilling. Women’s lower connection to the labor market is likely to worsen these informational constraints.
 
Psychological barriers and attitudes towards risk induce resistance to change and anxiety about the prospect of applying for occupations that may be in contrast with one’s work-related identity. Higher levels of risk aversion are usually displayed by women.
 
The need to combine work life with caregiving and household duties affects the process of searching for new employment and training opportunities. This burden falls disproportionately on women.
 
“We will implement a Randomized Controlled Trial embedded within the processes of our partner employment centers. This will allow us to rigorously estimate the effect of our new technology on job search, re-training and job finding rates among our participants” Professor Delfino explains.
 
The researchers also aim to understand how the tool can help case workers, who are often overwhelmed with many cases to follow and frustrated by not being able to have more time to help jobseekers. The researchers are working intensively with the case workers to find the best way to use the technology as a tool to help their work as well.
 
“The evidence from our experiment would be beneficial not only for jobseekers and employment centers, but for the economy as a whole,” Prof. Delfino concludes. “There is increasing agreement that the Covid-19 crisis may exacerbate the misallocation of talent across occupation and sectors. Reallocating the unemployed more efficiently is therefore a primary policy goal.”

by Fabio Todesco
Bocconi Knowledge newsletter

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