Wilmers Wins Grant to Study Tasks and Opportunities in Low-Wage Jobs

MIT Sloan Assistant Professor Nathan Wilmers and Harvard Business School Assistant Professor Letian Zhang have won a grant from WorkRise to study how the tasks assigned to low-wage workers affect those workers’ opportunities for wage growth. Wilmers and Zhang plan to study to what extent low-wage jobs that include opportunities to participate in higher-level tasks yield greater subsequent wage growth for workers than low-wage jobs that consist only of entry-level tasks.

Wilmers and Zhang’s project won funding as part of the inaugural round of grants from WorkRise, a research-to-action network on jobs, workers, and mobility hosted by the Urban Institute. For this round of grants, WorkRise received 343 applications and is awarding nine grants that together total $2.1 million.

Wilmers is the Sarofim Family Career Development Professor and an Assistant Professor of Work and Organization Studies at the MIT Sloan School of Management. He is a member of the MIT Institute for Work and Employment Research (IWER) and a member of the faculty steering committee for IWER’s Good Companies, Good Jobs Initiative. Zhang is an Assistant Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School.