Which College Graduates are "Trainable" in Today?s Economy? Considering Gender, Race, and Achievement
Natasha Quadlin

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Research Development Award

Award Year



University of California, Los Angeles

Primary Discipline

In recent years, members of the public have criticized universities for raising costs, but providing students with few job-related skills. A common response to this criticism is that college courses, especially those in the liberal arts, equip students with cognitive skills that make them ``trainable`` for many white-collar jobs. This study will test this notion from an employer's perspective. I hypothesize that although many employers view liberal arts graduates as trainable, these perceptions of trainability vary across dimensions such as gender, race, and achievement, with women, racial minorities, and (perhaps especially) racial minority women being most vulnerable to trainability penalties. To test these hypotheses, I will conduct both a résumé audit study and a survey experiment with hiring-decision makers. These related studies are designed to assess how college graduates in liberal arts fields (e.g., classics, philosophy, biology) fare in jobs that are typical of today's white-collar service economy (e.g., consulting, sales). Results will reveal which college graduates are (and are not) considered ``trainable`` for work in today's economy.
About Natasha Quadlin
Natasha Quadlin is Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Los Angeles. Her research focuses on social inequality in the contemporary United States, with an emphasis on access and returns to education. As a sociologist who uses quantitative and experimental methods in her work, Natasha is particularly interested in using large-scale surveys and experiments to examine the mechanisms behind inequalities in schools, families, and labor markets. Natasha received her Ph.D. in sociology from Indiana University in 2017. Her work has been published in the American Sociological Review, Social Forces, Sociology of Education, Gender & Society, and other outlets.

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