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The composition of employment in new innovative firms

Arndt Lautenschläger (Department of Business Administration, University of Applied Sciences Jena, Jena, Germany)

Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development

ISSN: 1462-6004

Article publication date: 16 February 2015




The paper explores the composition of employment in new innovative firms. The purpose of this paper is to shed some light on the mixture of job positions at the firm level measured by employees’ occupational position, their qualification and specialisation, as well as their origin. As there is little known about the structure and quality of employment in new firms, insights are helpful for policymakers who are engaged in regional development and job creation.


The database used for analysis comes from an interdisciplinary study on human-related success factors of business start-ups in the German state of Thuringia. Data were collected by means of 399 face-to-face interviews with the sole founder or the leading entrepreneur of a start-up firm. The findings are based on a multivariate data analysis using regression models.


The results indicate that temporary employment is more likely inherent in fast growing firms. Academic spin-offs prefer to hire people with a university education and scientific background. Furthermore, it is found that manufacturing firms have a relatively higher demand for staff with a professional education as well as a technical background. However, there is no support for the thesis that innovative firms contribute to combating structural unemployment at least in the short run.

Research limitations/implications

Results are limited to a particular geographical region. Researchers are strongly encouraged to conduct further research on the topic.

Practical implications

The paper includes implications for policymakers in the field of unemployment reduction and employment creation.


The paper explores the link between innovation and the quality of employment in new business ventures. This approach is in contrast to the bulk of other studies dealing with new employment generation in terms of numbers.



Financial support by the Thuringian Ministry of Education (Thüringer Kultusministerium) and the Hans-Böckler-Stiftung within the research project “Success and Failure of Innovative Start-ups: A Process-oriented Analysis of Economic and Psychological Determinants” is gratefully acknowledged.


Lautenschläger, A. (2015), "The composition of employment in new innovative firms", Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, Vol. 22 No. 1, pp. 143-159.



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Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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