This chapter investigates the extent to which graduating in a bad economy scars the careers of youth cohorts in terms of increased future unemployment and over-representation in fixed-term and involuntary part-time work. Using data from the European Union’s Labour Force Survey, we explore these dynamics of scarring from a cross-country comparative perspective, focusing on the United Kingdom, Germany, Switzerland, Spain and Finland. These countries make for interesting cases because they differ remarkably on institutional and economic dimensions. Overall, we find that bad luck in the timing of labour market entry can scar future careers, even over the long run. Manifold factors might explain the observed variation in scarring effects across different institutional settings. A sound conceptualization of the institutional framing of long-term scarring effects requires a well-established micro theory of these effects’ behavioural foundations, regarding both employers and jobseekers or workers.
Laura Alexandra Helbling, Stefan Sacchi and Christian Imdorf
Christian Imdorf, Lulu P. Shi, Stefan Sacchi, Robin Samuel, Christer Hyggen, Rumiana Stoilova, Gabriela Yordanova, Pepka Boyadjieva, Petya Ilieva-Trichkova, Dimitris Parsanoglou and Aggeliki Yfanti
Episodes of unemployment or deskilling work can signal low ability to employers and impede individuals’ employment chances. In this chapter we analyse how the scarring effects of experiences of job insecurity vary across countries. We presented fictitious CVs integrated in an online survey to 1920 respondents recruiting for real jobs in five occupational fields in Bulgaria, Greece, Norway and Switzerland. Our findings show that unemployment scarring is strongest in Norway, followed by Switzerland, and is weaker in Bulgaria and Greece. Work experience in deskilling jobs as well as frequent changes of jobs (job-hopping) are also found to decrease applicants’ chances. We interpret our findings with regard to different national economies (youth unemployment), employment protection legislation and education systems, arguing that these country-specific settings shape recruiters’ perceptions of individuals’ precarious job experience, which in turn influences their hiring decisions.