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Meet Your Future: Job Search Effort and Aspirations of Young Jobseekers
Last registered on January 19, 2021

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Meet Your Future: Job Search Effort and Aspirations of Young Jobseekers
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0004310
Initial registration date
January 18, 2021
Last updated
January 19, 2021 6:21 AM EST
Location(s)

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Primary Investigator
Affiliation
University of California Berkeley
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
Brown University
PI Affiliation
BRAC Uganda
Additional Trial Information
Status
On going
Start date
2019-07-08
End date
2021-12-31
Secondary IDs
Abstract
This study investigates the relative importance of various barriers to quality employment that young jobseekers in developing contexts face when transitioning into a labor market characterized by high levels of informality and technological constraints. The experimental setting is that of Vocational Training Institutes in Uganda. We track 1100 VTI students over a period of 2.5 years to follow the evolution of their employment expectations, network and search strategy as they approach the labor market and start the search. We implement a personalized career-coaching by “the future you”, a successful alum of the VTI. We examine the effects of program participation on students’ beliefs, preferences, search strategies, effort and labor market trajectories. Through detailed data on students’ employment network and socio-economic background, we seek to explore heterogeneous effects and understand whether the treatments improve equality in access to quality jobs.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Alfonsi, Livia, Mary Namubiru and Sara Spaziani. 2021. "Meet Your Future: Job Search Effort and Aspirations of Young Jobseekers." AEA RCT Registry. January 19. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.4310-1.0.
Sponsors & Partners

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Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
We implement a field experiment involving 1100 current students and 700 alumni of five accredited Vocational Training Institutes (VTIs) in Eastern and Central Uganda.
All the students in the project receive, or have received, a two-years residential training at five formal VTIs, at the end of which a certificate of course completion is released. Training is provided on specific skills including motor mechanics, electrical engineering, plumbing, tailoring and hair-dressing.
In particular, we implement a coaching program in which students that are randomly assigned to the treatment group are matched with successful alumni who graduated from the same institute and course of study. As part of this program, we facilitate three career-coaching sessions between each student-alum pair to take place at the turn of training completion, right when the students are transitioning out of education and into the labor market.
During these sessions, students have the chance to ask questions and share their doubts and fears with the alumni. The alumni, previously trained by the research team, will share their personal experience, provide tips for a successful job search, and share contacts of potential employers and information on current openings, should they know of any. In addition to participating to the career-coaching program, half of the treated students in the program will also receive a small amount of cash intended to either facilitate further communication with the alum they are matched with or, more in general, to help them with their job search. In order to measure the impacts of the career-coaching program we collect survey data and set up a randomized control trial.
Intervention Start Date
2021-02-01
Intervention End Date
2021-04-15
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
We define four domains of outcomes of interest: (i) labor market; (ii) existence and characteristics of network connection; (iii) job search strategy; (iv) expectations. The first domain contains our primary outcomes of interest while (ii), (iii) and (iv) are intermediate outcomes. If a primary outcome is missing for more than 10 percent of observations (not including attrition and skips), then we may not report it as a primary outcome. Likewise, if, for an indicator variable, more than 90 percent of responses take a single value, we will not include it as a primary outcome or as an index component.

Labor Market Performance
i. Employment (Number of offers; Monthly and total earnings; Hours worked; Time to first employment)
ii. Matching quality (Ability to keep job for at least 3 months; Job satisfaction)
iii. Quality of job (Permanent vs. Temporary vs. Casual; Wage Employment vs. Self-Employment; Formal vs. Informal; Received job by interview)
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
Our evaluation is based on a two-level randomization design. First, we randomize each student into T1 (30%), T2 (30%) or C (40%). We stratify our first randomization by: (i) gender, (ii) VTI, (iii) smartphone ownership and (iv) a “hard to find” dummy (which takes value 1 if the respondent was not found in any of the 3 pre-intervention rounds of survey). Then, we randomly assign students in T1 and T2 to a successful alum from their VTI and course. Each alum is matched to up to 5 students. Each treated student is matched with only one alum. The alumni to administer the career-coaching are selected so to ensure quality of the coaching as well as replicability of the program. Selection will be based on alumni’s: (i) availability; (ii) employment history; (iii) phone ownership (iv) age and time passed from graduation year; (v) graduation score and (vi) self reported soft skills.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization will be performed by a computer
Randomization Unit
Student
Was the treatment clustered?
No
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
0
Sample size: planned number of observations
1100 students, 700 alumni
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
660 students will be matched to an alum and will participate to the career-coaching program. Half of them will additionally receive a small cash transfer (~2.5$). 440 students will be in the control group.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
Committee for Protection of Human Subjects - UC Berkeley
IRB Approval Date
2019-12-05
IRB Approval Number
2019-09-12569
IRB Name
Mildmay Uganda Research Ethics Committee (MUREC)
IRB Approval Date
2019-07-10
IRB Approval Number
#REC: REF 0206 - 2019