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Concept: Employment

547

This study investigates change over time in the level of hiring discrimination in US labor markets. We perform a meta-analysis of every available field experiment of hiring discrimination against African Americans or Latinos (n = 28). Together, these studies represent 55,842 applications submitted for 26,326 positions. We focus on trends since 1989 (n = 24 studies), when field experiments became more common and improved methodologically. Since 1989, whites receive on average 36% more callbacks than African Americans, and 24% more callbacks than Latinos. We observe no change in the level of hiring discrimination against African Americans over the past 25 years, although we find modest evidence of a decline in discrimination against Latinos. Accounting for applicant education, applicant gender, study method, occupational groups, and local labor market conditions does little to alter this result. Contrary to claims of declining discrimination in American society, our estimates suggest that levels of discrimination remain largely unchanged, at least at the point of hire.

Concepts: Experimental design, Evaluation methods, Experiment, Employment, Race, African American, Racism, Racial segregation

305

Finding employment is becoming increasingly difficult for smokers. Twenty-nine U.S. states have passed legislation prohibiting employers from refusing to hire job candidates because they smoke, but 21 states have no such restrictions. Many health care organizations, such as the Cleveland Clinic and Baylor Health Care System, and some large non-health care employers, including Scotts Miracle-Gro, Union Pacific Railroad, and Alaska Airlines, now have a policy of not hiring smokers - a practice opposed by 65% of Americans, according to a 2012 poll by Harris International. We agree with those polled, believing that categorically refusing to hire smokers is unethical: it . . .

Concepts: United States, U.S. state, Alaska, Employment, Massachusetts, Oregon, Nebraska, Union Pacific Railroad

224

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society have determined that adults require ≥7 hours of sleep per day to promote optimal health (1). Short sleep duration (<7 hours per day) has been linked to adverse health outcomes including cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, depression, and anxiety, as well as safety issues related to drowsy driving and injuries (1,2). Additional research has found that sleep duration varies by characteristics such as race, education, marital status, obesity, and cigarette smoking (3). Work-related factors such as job stress, work hours, shift work, and physically demanding work have been found to be associated with sleep duration and quality (4-6). All of these work factors vary by industry and occupation of employment, and the prevalence of short sleep duration has been shown to vary by broad industry and occupation category (7). To provide updated and more detailed information about which occupation groups have the highest prevalences of short sleep duration, CDC analyzed data from currently employed adults surveyed for the 2013 and 2014 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) in 29 states. Among 22 major occupation groups, the highest prevalences of short sleep duration were among workers in the following five groups: Production (42.9%), Healthcare Support (40.1%), Healthcare Practitioners and Technical (40.0%), Food Preparation and Serving-Related (39.8%), and Protective Service (39.2%). The significant differences among occupation groups in the prevalence of short sleep duration suggest that work-related factors should be further evaluated as they might relate to sleep.

Concepts: Medicine, Smoking, Cigarette, Sleep, Employment, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, Working time, American Academy of Sleep Medicine

153

Yoga classes designed for women with premenstrual syndrome are available, but their efficacy is unclear. We investigated the effects of 12 weeks' yoga exercise (yoga intervention) on premenstrual symptoms in menstruating females in Taiwan. Sixty-four subjects completed the yoga intervention, and before and after the intervention filled out a structured self-report questionnaire about their demographics, personal lifestyle, menstrual status, baseline menstrual pain scores, premenstrual symptoms, and health-related quality of life. Of 64 subjects, 90.6% reported experiencing menstrual pain during menstruation. After the yoga intervention, subjects reported decreased use of analgesics during menstruation (p = 0.0290) and decreased moderate or severe effects of menstrual pain on work (p = 0.0011). The yoga exercise intervention was associated with the improvement of the scale of physical function (p = 0.0340) and bodily pain (p = 0.0087) of the SF-36, and significantly decreased abdominal swelling (p = 0.0011), breast tenderness (p = 0.0348), abdominal cramps (p = 0.0016), and cold sweats (p = 0.0143). Menstrual pain mitigation after yoga exercise correlated with improvement in six scales of the SF-36 (physical function, bodily pain, general health perception, vitality/energy, social function, mental health). Employers can educate female employees about the benefits of regular exercise such as yoga, which may decrease premenstrual distress and improve female employee health.

Concepts: Effectiveness, Exercise, Pain, Menstrual cycle, Employment, Menstruation, Menorrhagia, Premenstrual syndrome

140

Collaborative efforts between the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) led to a report focusing on overlapping occupational vulnerabilities, specifically small construction businesses employing young, non-native workers. Following the report, an online survey was conducted by ASSE with construction business representatives focusing on training experiences of non-native workers. Results were grouped by business size (50 or fewer employees or more than 50 employees). Smaller businesses were less likely to employ a supervisor who speaks the same language as immigrant workers (p < .001). Non-native workers in small businesses received fewer hours of both initial safety training (p = .005) and monthly ongoing safety training (p = .042). Immigrant workers in smaller businesses were less likely to receive every type of safety training identified in the survey (including pre-work safety orientation [p < .001], job-specific training [p < .001], OSHA 10-hour training [p = .001], and federal/state required training [p < .001]). The results highlight some of the challenges a vulnerable worker population faces in a small business, and can be used to better focus intervention efforts. Among businesses represented in this sample, there are deflcits in the amount, frequency, and format of workplace safety and health training provided to non-native workers in smaller construction businesses compared to those in larger businesses. The types of training conducted for non-native workers in small business were less likely to take into account the language and literacy issues faced by these workers. The findings suggest the need for a targeted approach in providing occupational safety and health training to non-native workers employed by smaller construction businesses.

Concepts: Training, Employment, Occupational health psychology, Occupational safety and health, Small business, Business, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Safety engineering

120

Pet dogs, therapy dogs, and service dogs can be seen in workplaces with increasing frequency. Although dogs may provide many benefits to employees and employers, their presence may introduce additional hazards and concerns to the work environment. Therefore, decisions to accept dogs in the workplace may include many considerations including the health, safety, and well-being of employees, legal and cultural sensitivities, and animal welfare. The present paper serves to introduce the issue of dogs in the workplace and outline the potential benefits and challenges to their presence. The legal accommodations afforded to certain types of dogs in workplace settings are discussed, and the research findings pertaining to the potential benefits of dogs on human health and well-being are summarized. The paper concludes with considerations for human resource management personnel in the areas of diversity, employee relations, ethics and corporate responsibility, organizational and employee development, safety and security, and legal considerations, as well as suggested topics for future research.

Concepts: Health, Employment, Recruitment, Labour economics, Job interview, Corporate social responsibility, Human resources, Human resource management

112

Depression in the workplace creates a significant burden on employees and employers in terms of lost productivity and related costs. myStrength provides a robust, holistic Web- and mobile-based solution empowering users to learn, practice, and implement a range of evidence-based psychological interventions.

Concepts: Psychology, Evidence-based medicine, Randomized controlled trial, Employment, World Wide Web, Web 2.0, Great Depression

111

There is increasing evidence that science & engineering PhD students lose interest in an academic career over the course of graduate training. It is not clear, however, whether this decline reflects students being discouraged from pursuing an academic career by the challenges of obtaining a faculty job or whether it reflects more fundamental changes in students' career goals for reasons other than the academic labor market. We examine this question using a longitudinal survey that follows a cohort of PhD students from 39 U.S. research universities over the course of graduate training to document changes in career preferences and to explore potential drivers of such changes. We report two main results. First, although the vast majority of students start the PhD interested in an academic research career, over time 55% of all students remain interested while 25% lose interest entirely. In addition, 15% of all students were never interested in an academic career during their PhD program, while 5% become more interested. Thus, the declining interest in an academic career is not a general phenomenon across all PhD students, but rather reflects a divergence between those students who remain highly interested in an academic career and other students who are no longer interested in one. Second, we show that the decline we observe is not driven by expectations of academic job availability, nor by related factors such as postdoctoral requirements or the availability of research funding. Instead, the decline appears partly due to the misalignment between students' changing preferences for specific job attributes on the one hand, and the nature of the academic research career itself on the other. Changes in students' perceptions of their own research ability also play a role, while publications do not. We discuss implications for scientific labor markets, PhD career development programs, and science policy.

Concepts: Scientific method, Research methods, Science, Research, University, Employment, Organizational studies and human resource management, Labour economics

105

Employer-sponsored well-being programs have been growing in popularity as a means to control rising health care costs and increase workplace productivity. Engagement by employees is necessary for these programs to achieve their desired effects. Extrinsic motivators in the form of incentives and surcharges are commonly introduced by employer program sponsors to promote meaningful engagement. Although these may be successful in achieving a degree of engagement, individuals benefit by being intrinsically motivated as they modify behaviors and improve short- and long-term well-being. Telephonic guides equipped with motivational interviewing and other behavioral strategies to improve engagement may bridge the gap between extrinsic and intrinsic motivation. The objectives of this study are to determine characteristics associated with employee utilization of these guides when offered and to compare subsequent program engagement rates between utilizers to a propensity score matched group of employees who were not offered the service. The data were retrieved from a well-being program provider’s database. The study examined 166,258 employees across 35 employers. It found utilizers were older, proportionally more female, in the manufacturing industry, incented to use the guide service, offered a larger incentive for program participation, had healthier self-reported behaviors, and had a higher perception of their employer’s focus on well-being. The study found that guide utilizers were significantly more likely to engage in telephonic coaching, digital coaching, and activity tracking up to 6 months. The study’s findings suggest telephonic guides using a range of behavioral techniques are an effective strategy to drive well-being program engagement.

Concepts: Health care, Psychology, Employment, Behavior, Motivation, Human behavior, Program, Intrinsic and extrinsic properties

94

Does increasing incomes improve health? In 1999, the UK government implemented minimum wage legislation, increasing hourly wages to at least £3.60. This policy experiment created intervention and control groups that can be used to assess the effects of increasing wages on health. Longitudinal data were taken from the British Household Panel Survey. We compared the health effects of higher wages on recipients of the minimum wage with otherwise similar persons who were likely unaffected because (1) their wages were between 100 and 110% of the eligibility threshold or (2) their firms did not increase wages to meet the threshold. We assessed the probability of mental ill health using the 12-item General Health Questionnaire. We also assessed changes in smoking, blood pressure, as well as hearing ability (control condition). The intervention group, whose wages rose above the minimum wage, experienced lower probability of mental ill health compared with both control group 1 and control group 2. This improvement represents 0.37 of a standard deviation, comparable with the effect of antidepressants (0.39 of a standard deviation) on depressive symptoms. The intervention group experienced no change in blood pressure, hearing ability, or smoking. Increasing wages significantly improves mental health by reducing financial strain in low-wage workers. © 2016 The Authors. Health Economics published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Concepts: Controlling for a variable, Scientific control, Longitudinal study, Economics, Employment, Minimum wage, British Household Panel Survey, Wage