DeGroote Professor Offers Critical Look into Corporate Bankruptcy

DeGroote Professor Corporate Bankruptcy

Professor Jiaping Qiu at the DeGroote School of Business at McMaster University specializes in corporate bankruptcy, and wants to know how that can impact a company’s employees and their future.

The Toronto-based professor has researched this with a team, per a press release. One study found that employees earn less when they’ve gone through corporate bankruptcy—and the impact can be long-term.

“Annual employee earnings deteriorate by 10 percent when a firm files for bankruptcy,” Qiu said in the press release. “Workers who are affected are likely to leave the firm, industry and even the local labor market. And it turns out those employee earnings remain below pre-bankruptcy earning for at least six years, which is surprising.”

Bankruptcy can impact employees’ earnings for their lifetime, according to Qiu’s research, so future MBA graduates should be careful about what companies they decide for which to work. They wouldn’t be alone: Qiu’s says that recent research shows that people do tend to care about a company’s financial well-being.

“If people get two job offers, all things being relatively equal, they are likely to accept the one from the firm that is more financially healthy,” Qiu added. “This means companies with worse credit ratings will have to pay more to attract the same quality of workers. The resulting higher wages paid to workers due to greater bankruptcy risk should be an important factor for a company to consider when it plans to increase its debt level.”

What attracts to the professor to this topic is knowing how intrinsically human capital is tied to a company. “That’s why this research is important: It has implications in how employees will invest their human capital in a company, and what, as a result, companies should consider when making corporate finance decisions,” he went on, in the press release.

Qiu has also researched the relationship between labor unions and creditors, as well as corporate innovation. Innovation is another aspect impacted when a company goes bankrupt. If finances impact an innovator, it is less likely to invest its human capital again.

However, major companies like Apple and Marvel Entertainment have filed for bankruptcy in the past though, so be careful about how you decide where to work for next.

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