olivier godechot

Godechot Olivier, 2010, « Getting a Job in Finance-The Strength of Collaboration Ties », Document de travail du Crest, n°2010-42.

    Since the seminal papers of Mark Granovetter, Getting a Job and ‘The Strength of Weak Ties’, it has been acknowledged that contacts are a valuable way of getting a job, and that weak ties are more efficient than strong ties because the former convey more original information than the latter. We would like to challenge this overemphasizing focus of network sociology on information. We first return to Granovetter’s empirical work and show that the ‘weak ties’ that seem more helpful for getting jobs are generally former colleagues. One reason for this feature is not that former colleagues increase ego’s information but rather that they value the pursuit of past collaboration. We examine then the consequence of collaboration ties hypothesis in the financial industry labor market. Based on results of previous research, we explain why collaboration ties may be so valuable. In finance, the labor market values the assets that financial operatives take with them from one firm to another, such as knowledge, know-how and customers. Since assets are to a certain extent shared among co-workers, it is worth hiring business relations, former colleagues or moving in teams: it enables a better transfer of assets such as idiosyncratic working routines, distributed knowledge, or joint customers. To demonstrate our claims we rely on an online survey launched with eFinancialCareers.fr collected in 09/2008 among French financial employees (n=995).  This questionnaire shows that working in core finance favors the accumulation of moveable key assets on the one hand and of collaboration ties on the other hand, ie that collaboration ties and moveable key assets are strongly correlated. The moving of key assets, collaboration ties and notably the combination of those two dimensions all increases wages. Although firms try to secure key workers holding such advantages through contractual devices, those strategies fail since many employees, in order to remain in contact with those attractors, facilitate rather than prevent such movement. Finally this paper suggests that the real firm is maybe not the formal firm itself but rather resides between firms in the networks of collaboration ties formed by employees who are mobile.

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