Employers’ Hiring Decisions in Relation to Young People in Luxembourg

PhD dissertation by Tamara Rebecca Gutfleisch, 2017 - 2021

As a PhD candidate, Tamara Rebecca Gutfleisch has been working in the Centre for Childhood and Youth (CCY) at the University of Luxembourg since 2017. Tamara is particularly interested in hiring discrimination as a key driver of inequalities in the labor market and wider society. A large part of her PhD dissertation evolves this research interest in the context of Luxembourgish society. Another part analyses hiring discrimination from an international comparative perspective.


In order to get to know Tamara and her PhD dissertation, the Digital Documentation and Research Centre (DDRC) invited her for an interview in January 2021. Please, read on below:

CC BY Omid Kashmari via unsplash.com

Tamara, what motivated you to start your PhD on hiring discrimination at the CCY?

As scientists, we understand hiring discrimination as the unequal treatment of an applicant based on individual characteristics during the recruitment process. In my master thesis, I already studied how, for example, anti-immigrant attitudes relate to immigrants’ integration into the labor market.

In contemporary societies, gainful employment is extremely important for individuals‘ opportunities to participate in social and economic life, as it facilitates access to useful resources such as income. Understanding how some applicants are excluded from this access is what motivated me to write my PhD at the CCY.

What does your PhD dissertation aim to achieve?

The overall aim of my dissertation is to provide new theoretical and methodological insights into the study of hiring discrimination. One part of my dissertation looks at the impact of applicant characteristics such as gender, unemployment, and nationality on recruiters‘ hiring intentions from different perspectives.

I am particularly interested in the conditions under which hiring discrimination based on these characteristics occurs, and how different characteristics combine in shaping recruiters’ hiring intentions. Another part of my dissertation focuses on methodological issues in studying recruiters’ hiring intentions.

Which methods and research designs help you researching?

My dissertation contributes to the project EDYPOLU („Employers’ Hiring Decisions in Relation to Young People in Luxembourg”). This project, led by Prof. Dr. Robin Samuel, is interested in understanding the role of recruiters’ hiring intentions in youth unemployment in Luxembourg.

In order to answer some of my research questions, I am relying on data from a factorial survey experiment conducted in the context of EDYPOLU: This means, we conducted an online survey, in which real recruiters were randomly shown different descriptions of hypothetical applicants. Then they were asked to make a judgement based on these descriptions. The descriptions were experimentally manipulated, which allows testing the direct effect of applicant characteristics on recruiters’ hiring intentions.

Beyond EDYPOLU, I rely on available data from the project NEGOTIATE, which conducted a cross-country factorial survey experiment. This allows me to consider also international contexts of hiring discrimination in my dissertation.

"Further exploring the mechanisms underlying hiring discrimination is important to better understand how inequalities emerge in the labor market."
Tamara Rebecca Gutfleisch
PhD candidate
CC BY Scott Graham via unsplash.com

What have you found out and what can you recommend based on your research?

My findings suggest that discrimination based on unemployment, gender, and nationality might be moderated by different factors such as occupational contexts or recruiter characteristics. For example, based on the EDYPOLU data, I found out that foreigners had a lower likelihood of being considered for a given job than Luxembourgish applicants, particularly when the recruiter was Luxembourgish. Further exploring the mechanisms underlying hiring discrimination is important to better understand how inequalities emerge in the labor market.

Interview conducted by Moritz Höpner in January 2021


Tamara Rebecca Gutfleisch’s PhD dissertation is supervised by Prof. Dr. Robin Samuel. Having graduated from Cologne University with an M.Sc. in Sociology and Empirical Social Research, she joined the University’s Centre for Childhood and Youth Research (CCY) in 2017. We warmly recommend everyone to explore Tamara’s publications, some of which are listed here:


Gutfleisch, Samuel, Sacchi (2020). The application of factorial surveys to study recruiters’ hiring intentions: comparing designs based on hypothetical andreal vacancies
Gutfleisch, Samuel (2019). Employers’ hiring decisions in relation to young people in Luxembourg (EDYPOLU). Short report.