Do Employers Really Need More Educated Youth?

James E. Rosenbaum*, Amy Binder

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


In this article, the authors use qualitative data from interviews with 51 diverse employers to examine what actions, if any, employers take in pursuit of their stated need for young workers with skills. Contrary to Berg's model, employers often describe a clear need for specific academic skills, specific conditions that require such skills, and costly actions they take to obtain these skills. However, contrary to the economic model, in attempting to achieve productivity goals, employers respond to shortcomings in skills by taking previously unnoted actions that increase labor market stratification. They increase supervisors' responsibility for explaining tasks at considerable cost to themselves, adjust jobs to match workers' skills, offer special accommodations to retain workers with valued skills, and use "on-the-job screening" and recruiting linkages to select workers. These findings explain some puzzles in segmented labor market theory and extend sociological network models.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)68-85
Number of pages18
JournalSociology of Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Do Employers Really Need More Educated Youth?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this