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Why External Hires Get Paid More, and Perform Worse, than Internal Staff

Here is some research sure to rankle every employee who has applied for an internal promotion and been passed over in favor of someone brought in from the outside. According to Wharton management professor Matthew Bidwell, “external hires” get significantly lower performance evaluations for their first two years on the job than do internal workers who are promoted into similar jobs. They also have higher exit rates, and they are paid “substantially more.”

Bidwell suggests that his paper “provides unique evidence on the value to firms of internal labor market structures. Results show that internal mobility allows the firm to staff higher-level jobs with workers who have better performance but are paid less.” By detailing the strong advantage of internal mobility over external hires, he adds, “these findings help to explain the continued resilience of internal labor markets in the face of pressures for worker mobility.”

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Executive Summary: Promote, Don’t Pass Over, Wharton Magazine, Summer, 2012

Full Article: Paying More to Get Less: The Effects of External HIring versus Internal Mobility, Matthew Bidwell, Administrative Science Quarterly 56 (3) 369-407.