How Factorial Survey Analysis Improves Our Understanding of Employer Preferences

Open access

Abstract

Factorial Survey Analysis (FSA) is an analytical tool that presents respondents with fictional situations (“vignettes”) to be rated or judged. In this paper we study the use of FSA in labour market sociology, with a particular focus on employer-based surveys, and what they can teach us about hiring preferences. FSA is useful in this context as it targets employers directly and comes close to a causal design. This review article seeks to pinpoint the contributions FSA has made to the field, identify its limits and propose topics in which it may be useful.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • Abraham Martin Katrin Auspurg and Thomas Hinz. 2010. Migration Decisions Within Dual-Earner Partnerships: A Test of Bargaining Theory. Journal of Marriage and Family 72(4): 876–892.

  • Abraham Martin Katrin Auspurg Sebastian Bähr Corinna Frodermann Stefanie Gundert and Thomas Hinz. 2013. Unemployment and Willingness to Accept Job Offers: Results of a Factorial Survey Experiment. Journal for Labour Market Research 46(4): 283–305.

  • Aguinis Herman and Kyle Bradley. 2014. Best Practice Recommendations for Designing and Implementing Experimental Vignette Methodology Studies. Organizational Research Methods 17(4): 351–371.

  • Auspurg Katrin and Thomas Hinz. 2015. Factorial Survey Experiments. Quantitative Applications in the Social Sciences 175. Los Angeles: Sage.

  • Auspurg Katrin and Stefanie Gundert. 2015. Precarious Employment and Bargaining Power: Results of a Factorial Survey Analysis. Zeitschrift Für Soziologie 44(2): 99–117.

  • Auspurg Katrin Thomas Hinz and Carsten Sauer. 2017. Why Should Women Get Less? Evidence on the Gender Pay Gap From Multifactorial Survey Experiments. American Sociological Review 82(1): 179–210.

  • Baert Stijn and Ann-Sophie De Pauw. 2014. Is Ethnic Discrimination Due to Distaste or Statistics? Economics Letters 125(2): 270–273.

  • Bähr Sebastian and Martin Abraham. 2016. The Role of Social Capital in the Job-Related Regional Mobility Decisions of Unemployed Individuals. Social Networks 46(July): 44–59.

  • Behrenz Lars. 2001. Who Gets the Job and Why? An Explorative Study of Employers’ Recruitment Behaviour. Journal of Applied Economics IV(2): 255–278.

  • Bennett Roger. 2002. Employers’ Demands for Personal Transferable Skills in Graduates: A Content Analysis of 1000 Job Advertisements and an Associated Empirical Study. Journal of Vocational Education & Training 54(4): 457–476.

  • Biesma R. G. M. Pavlova G. G. van Merode and W. Groot. 2007. Using Conjoint Analysis to Estimate Employers Preferences for Key Competencies of Master Level Dutch Graduates Entering the Public Health Field. Economics of Education Review 26(3): 375–386.

  • Bonoli Giuliano and Karl Hinrichs. 2012. Statistical Discrimination and Employers’ Recruitment: Practices for Low-Skilled Workers. European Societies 14(3): 338–361.

  • Breen Richard Damain Hannan and Richard O’Leary. 1995. Returns to Education: Taking Account of Employers’ Perceptions and Use of Educational Credentials. European Sociological Review 11(1): 59–73.

  • Connelly Brian L. S. Trevis Certo R. Duane Ireland and Christopher R. Reutzel. 2011. Signaling Theory: A Review and Assessment. Journal of Management 37(1): 39–67.

  • Correll Shelley J. Stephen Benard and In Paik. 2007. Getting a Job: Is There a Motherhood Penalty? American Journal of Sociology 112(5): 1297–1338.

  • Damelang Andreas and Martin Abraham. 2016. You Can Take Some of It with You! A Vignette Study on the Acceptance of Foreign Vocational Certificates and Ethnic Inequality in the German Labour Market. Zeitschrift Für Soziologie 45(2): 91–106.

  • De Wolf Inge and Rolf van der Velden. 2001. Selection Processes for Three Types of Academic Jobs: An Experiment Among Dutch Employers of Social Sciences Graduates. European Sociological Review 17(3): 317–330.

  • Di Stasio Valentina. 2014. Education as a Signal of Trainability: Results From a Vignette Study With Italian Employers. European Sociological Review 30(4): 796–809.

  • Di Stasio Valentina and Klarita Gërxhani. 2015. Employers’ Social Contacts and Their Hiring Behaviour in a Factorial Survey. Social Science Research 51: 93–107.

  • Di Stasio Valentina and Herman G. van de Werfhorst. 2016. Why Does Education Matter to Employers in Different Institutional Contexts? A Vignette Study in England and the Netherlands. Social Forces 95(1): 77–106.

  • Ebner Christian and Marc Helbling. 2016. Social Distance and Wage Inequalities for Immigrants in Switzerland. Work Employment & Society 30(3): 436–454.

  • Fernandez Roberto and Nancy Weinberg. 1997. Sifting and Sorting: Personal Contacts and Hiring in a Retail Bank. American Sociological Review 62(6): 883–902.

  • Gaddis S. Michael. 2018. An Introduction to Audit Studies in the Social Sciences. Pp. 3–44 in Audit Studies: Behind the Scenes With Theory Method and Nuance edited by S. Michael Gaddis. Cham: Springer International Publishing.

  • Green Paul Abba Krieger and Yoram Wind. 2001. Thirty Years of Conjoint Analysis: Reflections and Prospects. Interfaces Marketing Engineering 31(3): 56–73.

  • Green Paul and V. Srinivasan. 1990. Conjoint Analysis in Marketing: New Developments With Implications for Research and Practice. Journal of Marketing 54(4): 3–19.

  • Hainmueller Jens Daniel Hopkins and Teppei Yamamoto. 2014. Causal Inference in Conjoint Analysis: Understanding Multidimensional Choices via Stated Preference Experiments. Political Analysis 22: 1–30.

  • Hainmueller Jens Daniel Hopkins and Teppei Yamamoto. 2015. Validating Vignette and Conjoint Survey Experiments Against Real-World Behavior. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 112(8): 2395–2400.

  • Henkens Kène Hanna van Solinge and Rabina Cozijnsen. 2009. Let Go or Retain? A Comparative Study of the Attitudes of Business Students and Managers about the Retirement of Older Workers. Journal of Applied Social Psychology 39(7): 1562–1588.

  • Holzer Harry J. Steven Raphael and Michael A. Stoll. 2006. Employers in the Boom: How Did the Hiring of Less-Skilled Workers Change During the 1990s? The Review of Economics and Statistics 88(2): 283–299.

  • Humburg Martin and Rolf van der Velden. 2014. Skills and the Graduate Recruitment Process: Evidence From Two Discrete Choice Experiments. Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market.

  • James Susan Chris Warhurst Gerbrand Tholen and Johanna Commander. 2013. What We Know and What We Need to Know About Graduate Skills. Work Employment & Society 27(6): 952–963.

  • Jasso Guillermina. 2006. Factorial Survey Methods for Studying Beliefs and Judgments. Sociological Methods & Research 34(3): 334–423.

  • Jasso Guillermina and Murray Webster. 1999. Assessing the Gender Gap in Just Earnings and Its UnderlyingMechanisms.Social Psychology Quarterly 62(4): 367–380.

  • Jasso Guillermina and Murray Webster. 1997. Double Standards in Just Earnings for Male and Female Workers. Social Psychology Quarterly 60(1): 66–78.

  • Jyrkinen Marjut and Linda McKie. 2012. Gender Age and Ageism: Experiences of Women Managers in Finland and Scotland. Work Employment & Society 26(1): 61–77.

  • Karpinska Kasia Kène Henkens and Joop Schippers. 2013. Retention of Older Workers: Impact of Managers’ Age Norms and Stereotypes. European Sociological Review 29(6): 1323–1335.

  • Karpinska Kasia Kène Henkens and Joop Schippers. 2011. The Recruitment of Early Retirees: A Vignette Study of the Factors That Affect Managers’ Decisions. Ageing and Society 31(4): 570–589.

  • Karpinska Kasia Kène Henkens Joop Schippers and Mo Wang. 2015. Training Opportunities for Older Workers in the Netherlands: A Vignette Study. Research in Social Stratification and Mobility 41: 103–112.

  • Larsen Mona and Peder J. Pedersen. 2017. Labour Force Activity after 65: What Explain Recent Trends in Denmark Germany and Sweden? Journal for Labour Market Research 50(1): 15–27.

  • Larsen Christian and Patrik Vesan. 2012. Why Public Employment Services Always Fail. Double-Sided Asymmetric Information and the Placement of Low-Skill Workers in Six European Countries. Public Administration 90(2): 466–479.

  • Liechti Fabienne Flavia Fossati Giuliano Bonoli and Daniel Auer. 2017. The Signalling Value of Labour Market Programmes. European Sociological Review 33(2): 257–274.

  • McDermott Rose. 2011. Internal and External Validity. Pp. 27–40 in Cambridge Handbook of Experimental Political Science edited by James Druckman Donald Green James Kuklinski and Arthur Lupia. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • Mulders Jaap Hendrik van Dalen Kène Henkens and Joop Schippers. 2014. How Likely Are Employers to Rehire Older Workers after Mandatory Retirement? A Vignette Study Among Managers. De Economist 162: 415–431.

  • OECD. 2015. Education at a Glance 2015: OECD Indicators. Paris: OECD Publishing.

  • Oesch Daniel Oliver Lipps and Patrick McDonald. 2017. The Wage Penalty for Motherhood: Evidence on Discrimination From Panel Data and a Survey Experiment for Switzerland. Demographic Research 37(December): 1793–1824.

  • Pager Devah and Lincoln Quillian. 2005. Walking the Talk? What Employers Say Versus What They Do. American Sociological Review 70(3): 355–380.

  • Pager Devah Bruce Western and Bart Bonikowski. 2009. Discrimination in a Low-Wage Labor Market: A Field Experiment. American Sociological Review 74(5): 777–799.

  • Petersen Trond Ishak Saporta and Marc-David Seidel. 2000. Offering a Job: Meritocracy and Social Networks. American Journal of Sociology 106(3): 763–816.

  • Potter Michael and Jennifer Hamilton. 2014. Picking on Vulnerable Migrants: Precarity and the Mushroom Industry in Northern Ireland. Work Employment & Society 28(3): 390–406.

  • Protsch Paula and Heike Solga. 2015. How Employers Use Signals of Congnitive and Noncognitive Skills and Labour Market Entry: Insights From Field Experiments. European Sociological Review 31(5): 521–532.

  • Radl Jonas. 2012. Too Old to Work or Too Young to Retire? The Pervasiveness of Age Norms in Western Europe. Work Employment & Society 26(5): 755–771.

  • Rohrbach-Schmidt Daniela and Michael Tiemann. 2016. Educational (Mis)match and Skill Utilization in Germany: Assessing the Role of Worker and Job Characteristics. Journal for Labour Market Research 49(2): 99–119.

  • Rossi Peter. 1951. The Application of Latent Structure Analysis to the Study of Social Stratification. PhD Thesis Columbia University.

  • Rossi Peter and Steven Nock. 1982. Measuring Social Judgements: The Factorial Survey Approach. Los Angeles: Sage.

  • Ryan Mandy Bate Angela Eastmond Clifford J. and Ludbrook Anne. 2001. Use of Discrete Choice Experiments to Elicit Preferences. Quality in Health Care 10(Suppl I): 55–60.

  • Sacchi Stefan Irene Kriesi and Marlis Buchmann. 2016. Occupational Mobility Chains and the Role of Job Opportunities for Upward Lateral and Downward Mobility in Switzerland. Research in Social Stratification and Mobility 44(June): 10–21.

  • Sauer Carsten Katrin Auspurg Thomas Hinz and Stefan Liebig. 2011. The Application of Factorial Surveys in General Population Samples: The Effects of Respondent Age and Education on Response Times and Response Consistency. Survey Research Methods 5(3): 89–102.

  • Shan Hongxia. 2013. Skill as a Relational Construct: Hiring Practices From the Standpoint of Chinese Immigrant Engineers in Canada. Work Employment & Society 27(6): 915–931.

  • Shi Lulu P. Christian Imdorf Robin Samuel and Stefan Sacchi. 2018. How Unemployment Scarring Affects Skilled Young Workers: Evidence From a Factorial Survey of Swiss Recruiters. Journal for Labour Market Research 52(7): 1–15.

  • Sparreboom Theo and Alexander Tarvid. 2016. Imbalanced Job Polarization and Skills Mismatch in Europe. Journal for Labour Market Research 49(1): 15–42.

  • Spence Michael. 1973. Job Market Signaling. The Quarterly Journal of Economics 87(3): 355–374.

  • Taylor Brian J. 2005. Factorial Surveys: Using Vignettes to Study Professional Judgement. British Journal of Social Work 36 (7): 1187–1207.

  • Taylor Philip and Alan Walker. 1994. The Ageing Workforce: Employers’ Attitudes Towards Older People. Work Employment and Society 8(4): 569–591.

  • Thurow Lester C. 1975. Generating Inequality: Mechanisms of Distribution in the US Economy. New York: Basic Book.

  • Van Beek Krijn Carl Koopman and Bernard van Praag. 1997. Shopping at the Labour Market: A Real Tale of Fiction. European Economic Review 41: 295–317.

  • Wallander Lisa. 2009. 25 Years of Factorial Surveys in Sociology: A Review. Social Science Research 38: 505–520.

  • Winship Christopher and Stephen Morgan. 1999. The Estimation of Causal Effects From Observational Data. Annual Review of Sociology 25: 659–709.

Search
Journal information
Impact Factor

CiteScore 2018: 0.24

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.141
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.087

Metrics
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 51 51 51
PDF Downloads 30 30 30