Employers may discriminate against job seekers with non-English names

UBC study finds applicants with foreign-sounding names get fewer interviews

A new study has found that job seekers with English-sounding names got interviews 40 per cent more often than applicants with identical resumes and non-English names. The University of British Columbia study sent 6,000 mock resumes to Canadian employers with Chinese, Indian and Pakistani names as well as English names like “Jill Wilson,” to employers across 20 occupational categories in the Greater Toronto Area (Canada’s most multicultural city). All the resumes listed a bachelor’s degree and four to six years of experience, with name and domestic or foreign education and work experience randomly assigned. The researchers found that English applicants like “John Martin” got calls 40 per cent more often than applicants such as Sana Khan, or Lei Li, and suggest that Canadians and immigrants with non-English names face discrimination. They feel the study may help explain why skilled immigrants arriving under Canada’s point system with degrees and significant work experience fare poorly in the labour market.

University of British Columbia

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