Thursday, June 18, 2009

Employers shunning ethnic applicants

Researchers at the Australian National University have shown that prospective employers are more likely to consider a job application from someone with an Anglo-Saxon name, as opposed to a Middle-Eastern, Italian or Chinese name, a study has shown.

“Well, duh,” I hear the resounding reply from all the ethnics out there. “No sh** Sherlock.”

Yeah, I guess many of you figured that already. Like my African mate who was considering using a less-exotic variation of his name on job applications. But now its official. So all you Asians who are sick of your parents asking why you’re not working as a doctor yet, you can now use racism as an excuse.

The researchers sent out 4000 fake applications for entry-level jobs in waiting, data entry, customer service and sales. The qualifications were identical and all applicants had attended high school in Australia.

Those with Anglo-Saxon names got call-backs 35% of the time.

Those with Italian names got call-backs 32% of the time.

Those with indigenous-sounding names got call-backs 26% of the time.

Those with Middle-Eastern-sounding names got call-backs 22% of the time.

While those with Chinese names got call-backs 21% of the time.

A recent study conducted in Canada showed similar results.

The study also showed that employers in Sydney seemed to discriminate against ethnic names more than Melbourne or Brisbane.


So, in a difficult economic climate where job offers are hard to come by, what is one to do? It’s obious - change your name. Now you understand why the telemarketers ringing me from India introduce themselves as “Johnson” or “James” – their employers figure I will hang up straight away on someone named “Balasubramaniam” or “Gurmeet”. (I hang up pretty quickly either way, although there is something strangely compelling about an Indian guy with the unlikely name of Johnson.)

So, unemployed Mr Wai Xi Wang, you are now “Bob Smith”. Ali Akbar Abdul Rahman, you are now “Steve Jones”. Can’t wait to see the look of confusion on the interviewers’ faces when they meet you.

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