Answering the call: How changes to the salience of job characteristics affects college students’ decisions

College students make job decisions without complete information. As a result, they may rely on misleading heuristics (“interesting jobs pay badly”) and pursue options misaligned with their goals. We test whether highlighting job characteristics changes decision making. We find increasing the salience of a job’s monetary benefits increases the likelihood college students apply by 196%. In contrast, emphasizing prosocial, career, or social benefits has no effect, despite students identifying these benefits as primary motivators for applying. The study highlights the detrimental incongruencies in students’ decision making alongside a simple strategy for recruiting college students to jobs that offer enriching experiences.

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Carly D. Robinson,
Katharine Meyer,
Chastity Bailey-Fakhoury,
Amirpasha Zandieh,
Susanna Loeb
Authors citation
Robinson, C.D., Meyer, K., Bailey-Fakhoury, C., Zandieh, A., & Loeb, S.
Year of Study

Media Mentions

Jun 04, 2024. The Brookings Institution . Connecting college students with enriching work experiences