Mental Models of Employment


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How do people view employment? Does it differ for those who have jobs, want jobs or are discouraged? We identified 3 mental models that transcend age, gender, income, region and employment status. The findings challenge conventional notions of unemployment and point towards new directions for creating employment, policy and services. Study funded by SEI Center for Advanced Studies in Management at the Wharton School.

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  • The sample is people connected to the labor force. The recruitment criteria matched the Census definitions of these terms.
  • The “inner experience” includes these areas: How I look at the job market; How I think about employers; How I think about myself; My support systems; How I think about my skills and experience; How I search and apply for jobs
  • Emotions: Anxious most often reported with new skills, new careers, future.In no case was “happy” or “angry” the dominant emotion. Anxious, hopeful and calm dominated
  • Mental Models of Employment

    1. 1. The Three Faces of Labor Discovering mental models towards the “inner experience” of employmentResearch Conducted for SEI Center for Advanced Study by Stephen D. Rappaport and Howard R. Moskowitz Questioning Institute with assistance from Ellen Fu, UPenn October 25, 2012
    2. 2. STUDY POPULATION: 16-64DEVELOPED ELEMENTS FOR “Inner Experience” VIGNETTESRecruited throughonline panel16-64 Gen Pop IdeaMap SURVEY507 completes Online Panelists Read and Rate ANALYZED DATA MINDSETS INTERESTS & EMOTIONS SEGMENTATION WIZARD Total Seg 1 Self Seg 2 Seg 3 Seg 4 Personal Sample Driven Online Technology/ Collaborative Touch with Banking High Security Online Seekers Technology Seekers Seekers Base Size: (267) (105) (50) (59) (53) Constant: 31 34 28 31 26 Online Collaborative OC1 Connect online in real time with a customer rep via instant messaging, voice over IP or video conferencing via your No more paper mail – we will send you copies of statements by secure e-mail copies of statements by secure e-mail computer 0 2 2 5 -13 OC3 Faster loan application process…work in real time online with a loan officer 0 0 -8 12 -8 OC4 Our banks customer service reps will help you browse and use our online banking services -1 0 -6 10 -10 Securely manage your account by PDA, Internet of automated telephone account by PDA, Internet of automated telephone OC2 Use our online tool to find and schedule at your convenience an online working session with an expert such as investment broker, insurance agent, and/or loan officer -3 1 -11 6 -12 Our banks customer services reps will help browse & use our on-line services Online Other ON3 We will answer all your requests in real time by email, instant or text messaging 1 7 -11 3 -1 ON4 We offer On demand status reports for services requests (e.g., loan application) delivered to you via e-mail, text or instant 1 6 -4 -3 0 Manage all your banking needs with a state of the art kiosk and be confident ON2 messaging No more paper mail... We will send you statements and images of that live help is available if you need it transactions securely by email -2 5 -17 -5 2 ON1 We allow you to pay bills securely using your mobile devices (cell phone, PDA, Blackberry, etc.) -4 2 -13 -9 -2 In-Branch Recognition BR3 We offer a bank-issued smart card so we can recognize you entering the branch and process your needs faster 4 2 6 -3 13 BR4 Choose a secure eye or finger security scan to identify you immediately in-branch and at ATM 4 3 10 -1 3 BR2 We have the most secure biometric system that identifies you as you enter the branch so we can process your needs faster 2 -1 8 -5 6 BR1 We will recognize our customers mobile phone signal when entering a branch so we can recommend appropriate bank products, promotions and special services -4 -3 -6 -11 2
    3. 3. Respondents Rate Vignettes Two Times:1) How well it describes me, 2) Select an Emotion
    4. 4. What We Uncovered: 3 Mindsets Total Sample: “Status Quo” • Worry about future, have support from friends/family, look for any job. Segment 1: “I’m Out of Date” (27%) Need to update skills, including social networking;, looking for any job but would like to have one like they had; have support from friends/family, Segment 2: “I Still Have It” (49%) See themselves as capable and confident, but concerned about future at same time. Segment 3: “I Can Adapt” (24%) confident in oneself, has social support, willing to change, critical of employer practices.October 25, 2012 ©2012. Questioning Institute. Presented to SEI Center for Advanced Study 5
    5. 5. Mental Models are Within People:They are Not Related to Employment Status And also not related to demographics
    6. 6. Example: Government Job and Career Service Sites Career Services • Career counseling • “Laundry List” of services • Skills assessment • One size fits all assumption • Resume development • Career workshops (such as job search strategies, networking, interview skills, etc) What if it were possible to • Career resource library tailor services to mental • Job search resources and job models? placement assistance • Referrals to other educational, training and social services Source:
    7. 7. With a Few Questions, You can Assign Individuals toSegments Segment 2: Still got it You See Yourself As ... Worried about your future What would be the More capable than your resume shows strategy for a person Will do everything to get through this with this mental Open to any job you might be qualified for model? You Do Not See Yourself as ... Having the skills employers want How would it differ Needing to update your skills from the others? Changing careers Needing to be retrained for todays jobs
    8. 8. Conclusions, Implications and Next Steps We made a big step in identifying mental models and creating a micro-science of the inner experience of employment Mental models can be used to guide policies, and develop and programs and practices that fit people Improving chances for people to gain, retain or change employment may require keeping, changing or replacing mental models held by people, and the private and public sectors Next steps: identify the mental models of employers and policy makers; then make recommendations based on the three studiesOctober 25, 2012 ©2012. Questioning Institute. Presented to SEI Center for Advanced Study 9
    9. 9. AppendixOctober 25, 2012 ©2012. Questioning Institute. Presented to SEI Center for Advanced Study 10
    10. 10. Elements Used in the RDE Research Protocol360 View of the Inner Experience of Employment
    11. 11. Total Sample“Status Quo” Total Sample: No strong elements that sample agrees "describes them today." Middling support for elements implying a consensus around employment today: that people are worried, have family/friends support, and willing to look for anything. They dont feel that social networks are particularly valuable.
    12. 12. Segment 1:“I’m out of date” "Im out of date" - see themselves as needing to update skills and modernize, draw on personal support, looking for anything. Dont "blame" employers; see little value in social networks.
    13. 13. Segment 2:“I still have it” "I still have it" - unwilling or doesnt see the need to change, confident that the skills they have are enough, yet concerned about the future.
    14. 14. Segment 3:“I need to adapt” "I need to adapt" - confident in oneself, has social support, willing to change, critical of employer practices. This is the "attitude" the employment community promotes, but its only 1/4 of the sample.
    15. 15. Segments by Age and Gender
    16. 16. Segments by Education and Region
    17. 17. Segments by Income
    18. 18. Segments by Ethnicity/Race and Marital Status
    19. 19. Sample Demographics:Age, Gender, Education, Combined HHI, Marital Status Age n % Education n % HHI n % 16-17 35 7% Still in High Less than 36 7% 80 16% School $25,000 18-24 137 27% Some High $25,000- 25-34 139 27% 153 30% School, no 14 3% $49,999 35-44 92 18% Diploma or GED $50,000- 96 19% $74,999 45-54 73 14% $75,000- 55-64 27 5% High School 68 13% 106 21% $99,999 diploma/GED 65 and over 4 1% $100,000- 44 9% Some $149,999 college/No 116 23% $150,000 - 17 3% $199,000 Gender n % degree Certification $200,000 or 7 1% from a more Female 276 54% Community Prefer not to Male 231 46% 17 3% 42 8% College o answer training Marital program Associate degree 58 11% Status n % Bachelor degree 117 23% Single, never 233 46% married Master degree 26 5% Married 189 37% Doctoral or Divorced or Professional 17 3% 36 7% separated degree Committed 41 8% relationship Widowed 8 2%
    20. 20. Sample Demographics:Ethnicity, Marital Status, Kids Under 18, Living Arrangements,Own or Rent Home Marital Ethnicity n % Status n % Kids U18 n % White 328 65% Single, never Yes 224 44% Black or 233 46% No 283 56% married African- 44 9% American Married 189 37% Hispanic or Divorced or 36 7% Latino 40 8% separated Own/Rent n % Asian 55 11% Committed 41 8% relationship Own 275 54% American Widowed 8 2% Rent 176 35% Indian/Alaska Native/Hawaii 6 1% an Native/Pacific Living n % Islander Live alone 88 17% Some other Live with 3 1% race spouse or 245 48% 2 or more partner 21 4% races Live with Prefer not to friends or 40 8% 10 2% answer roommates Live in 118 23% parents home Parents live in 16 3% my home