We examine the human capital of IPO-filing firms and how going public affects their labor force. IPO-filing firms have high average wages and limited industrial diversification. Moreover, we document that a successful IPO increases departures of high-skilled employees to startups and diversification though employment growth in non-core industries. While IPOs do not significantly affect earnings growth of pre-IPO workers, post-IPO hires receive larger earnings increases upon joining. These results are most consistent with agency mechanisms associated with the transition to public ownership. Overall, going public has significant implications for the firms’ overall labor force, the firm, and labor reallocation.
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