Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Joachim Singelmann


This dissertation analyzes the effects of employer recruiting practices on the gender and racial composition of jobs. Using the Metropolitan Employer-Employee Survey, I examine how the structural characteristics of organizations, occupations, industries and jobs affect the manner in which employers recruit for certain vacancies. The results show that employers use informal recruitment techniques, such as recruitment through professional colleagues and business associates, to recruit for executive/managerial, professional and other white-collar occupations. Employers use formal recruiting techniques for jobs in large establishments, in government agencies, and lower-level white-collar jobs. The dissertation addresses the link between recruitment practices and the gender and racial composition of jobs. The results show that informal recruitment through colleagues and business associates has a negative effect on the percentage of females and blacks employed in occupation-by-industry categories. Moreover, these effects are net of other measures which control for both the supply of qualified labor and employer demand for certain types of labor. However, informal recruitment through current employees has no effect on the racial and gender composition of jobs. The ramifications of these results are explored and discussed in detail. Following the job composition analysis, I extend the analysis to other labor market issues by analyzing the interrelationship among recruitment, job composition and salary. The results of this analysis show a positive relationship between informal recruiting through colleagues and the starting salary of a job, and a negative relationship between starting salary and percent black and female employed in a job. I conclude that employers' use of informal recruitment through business associates and colleagues is associated with better paying jobs, and that this type of recruitment disadvantages females and minorities. In the last chapter, I argue that structural efficiency models of labor market inequality need to be amended to incorporate Weberian notions of social closure.