August 2012

IZA DP No. 6818: "Employability-Miles" and Worker Employability Awareness

Ruud Gerards, Andries de Grip, Maaike Witlox

published in: Applied Economics, 2014, 46, 952-965

This article studies the use and impact of a firm-sponsored training ("Employability-miles") voucher scheme that aims to stimulate employees to develop a more active attitude toward their own employability. Using data from two surveys of the firm's workforce, we find that voucher use is related to various personality traits and personal characteristics. In particular, a worker's ambition, goal setting, and education level are positively related to voucher use. In addition, women and those with longer tenure spend their vouchers more often. Conversely, workers with a more positive self-image as well as those who are negatively reciprocal spend their vouchers less often. The negative relation between voucher use and negative reciprocity suggests that workers who are more negatively reciprocal perceive the voucher as an HR tool for outplacement. Further, we find that voucher use positively affects worker employability awareness and willingness to train. Remarkably, participation in non-voucher training shows little relation to personality traits. From a human resources perspective, this finding suggests that by employing a voucher scheme, the firm makes training participation more dependent on employee personality and individual characteristics instead of the human resources development strategy of the firm.