Does socio-emotional skills signaling matter in the labor market? A gender and skills correspondence study

Last registered on February 18, 2020

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
Does socio-emotional skills signaling matter in the labor market? A gender and skills correspondence study
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0002326
Initial registration date
July 17, 2017
Last updated
February 18, 2020, 5:17 PM EST

Locations

Region

Primary Investigator

Affiliation
World Bank

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
University of Bologna
PI Affiliation
World Bank
PI Affiliation
Brown University

Additional Trial Information

Status
Completed
Start date
2017-04-03
End date
2018-06-30
Secondary IDs
Abstract
A vast literature shows the importance of socioemotional skills in earnings and employment, but whether they matter in getting hired remains unanswered. This study seeks to address this question and further investigates whether socioemotional skill signals in job applicants’ resumes have the same value for male and female candidates. In a large-scale randomized audit study, an online job portal in Turkey is used to send fictitious resumes to real job openings, collecting a unique data set that enables investigating different stages of candidate screening. The study finds that socioemotional skills appear to be valued only when an employer specifically asks for such skills in the vacancy ad. When not
asked for, however, candidates can face a penalty in the form of lower callback rates. A significant penalty is only observed for women, not for men. The study does not find evidence of other gender differences in the hiring process.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Hut, Stefan et al. 2020. "Does socio-emotional skills signaling matter in the labor market? A gender and skills correspondence study." AEA RCT Registry. February 18. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.2326-4.0
Former Citation
Hut, Stefan et al. 2020. "Does socio-emotional skills signaling matter in the labor market? A gender and skills correspondence study." AEA RCT Registry. February 18. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/2326/history/63038
Sponsors & Partners

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Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
The intervention consist of a field experiment (correspondence or audit study), where we apply to real vacancy postings in 2 large cities in Turkey in five sectors on a large online jobs platform. The application consists of fictitious resumes of comparable female and male candidates, which have randomly been assigned whether in their CVs they signal socio-emotional skills or not. Jobs are collecting on a weekly basis and applied to the following week.
Intervention Start Date
2017-07-17
Intervention End Date
2018-03-30

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
We expect to observe three main outcomes related to the CV: CV receipt, CV opened, CV viewed, and candidate callback, being the callback the main outcome to be observed as a sign of the effectiveness or not of the intervention.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
The audit study will involve creation of fictitious candidate profiles on the job search platform, which are similar in all dimensions (education, experience, language skills, computer skills, age, etc.) but differ in gender and in whether socio-emotional skills signaling (e.g description of the skill or association with an activity done in a previous job) are included in the CVs. All characteristics will be randomly assigned from a database already created, education and job experience will be randomized at the sector level. For each application 4 CVs will be submitted, a control and treatment for each sex.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization done in office by a computer
Randomization Unit
Randomization is done at the individual characteristic level.
Was the treatment clustered?
No

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
The intervention is not clustered
Sample size: planned number of observations
The team expects to apply to about 5,200 vacancies
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Each treatment arm (control and treatment) will include 2 CVs per vacancy applied, so about 10,400 CVs per treatment arm
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
We expect to be able to detect a one percentage point difference between treatment and control, with an alpha of 0.05 and power of 0.9
IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Comitato di Bioetica, ALMA MATER STUDIORUM – UNIVERSITA’ DI BOLOGNA
IRB Approval Date
2015-07-03
IRB Approval Number
N/A
IRB Name
Applied Research Ethics Center, Middle East Technical University
IRB Approval Date
2015-05-13
IRB Approval Number
28620816
Analysis Plan

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Post-Trial

Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Intervention

Is the intervention completed?
Yes
Intervention Completion Date
January 31, 2018, 12:00 +00:00
Data Collection Complete
Yes
Data Collection Completion Date
March 31, 2018, 12:00 +00:00
Final Sample Size: Number of Clusters (Unit of Randomization)
Was attrition correlated with treatment status?
No
Final Sample Size: Total Number of Observations
Final Sample Size (or Number of Clusters) by Treatment Arms
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?
No

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Abstract
A vast literature shows the importance of socioemotional skills in earnings and employment, but whether they matter in getting hired remains unanswered. This study seeks to address this question and further investigates whether socioemotional skill signals in job applicants’ resumes have the same value for male and female candidates. In a large-scale randomized audit study, an online job portal in Turkey is used to send fictitious resumes to real job openings, collecting a unique data set that enables investigating different stages of candidate screening. The study finds that socioemotional skills appear to be valued only when an employer
specifically asks for such skills in the vacancy ad. When not asked for, however, candidates can face a penalty in the form of lower callback rates. A significant penalty is only observed for women, not for men. The study does not find evidence of other gender differences in the hiring process.
Citation
Nas Ozen, Selin Efsan; Hut, Stefan; Levin, Victoria; Munoz Boudet, Ana Maria. 2020. A Field Experiment on the Role of Socioemotional Skills and Gender for Hiring in Turkey (English). Policy Research working paper; no. WPS 9154. Washington, D.C. : World Bank Group

Reports & Other Materials