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How do networks matter in the labor market? : rethinking the effects of using contacts in job searches

Authors Shen, Jing
Issue Date 2006
Summary This thesis aims to evaluate a widely-accepted notion that using contacts helps a job seeker to achieve a better outcome in the labor market. Based on a study of job finding at the entry into the labor market, I argue that the effects of using contacts are conditional on observed and unobserved personal characteristics. My main findings are as follows. First, initial social position an individual possessed before he/she entered the labor market does not necessarily increase the likelihood of using contacts. Achieved initial social position decreases such likelihood, while the ascribed position increases it. Second, highly-educated job seekers can apply for more jobs when using contacts, while a reversal effect is true for lowly-educated job seekers. Third, contrary to the belief that using contacts would shorten the search duration, this effect is not statistically significant to the study sample. Finally, when obtained jobs are measured by type of occupation, type of work unit, and income, the effects of using contacts on the outcome of obtained jobs depend on job seekers' gender, the kind of contacts used, and type of work sought after. These findings imply that prior studies probably have misled us to treat contacts as an omnipotent means through which a career success can be obtained. To supplement an overstated relational theme, I emphasize the conditional importance of using contacts, and call on people's attention to the unobserved individualities of personalities and personal capacities in further studies.
Note Thesis (M.Phil.)--Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, 2006
Language English
Format Thesis
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