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English-Sounding Name Job Seekers are Preferred by Canadian Employers

According to a new Canada-wide study from Simon Fraser University, applicants with ethnic-sounding names are less likely to get a call back from potential employers.

Researchers sent thousands of resumes to online job postings in Canadian cities for the study, which was conducted by the Metropolis British Columbia Centre of Excellence for Research on Immigration and Diversity.

On average, resumés with English-sounding names received 35 per cent more callbacks, according to a study supported by Metropolis B.C., a federally funded immigration and diversity research centre.

Recruiters in Toronto and Montreal were 45 per cent more likely to call Alison Johnson over Min Liu, while Vancouverites were 20 per cent more likely to respond to those with English-sounding names.

“The name draws unconditional stereotypes, no matter what else is on the resumé,” said researcher Philip Oreopoulos, a University of Toronto professor.

Fears that people with non-English names would have language troubles prompted recruiters to call Carrie over Xiuying, the study found.

People with Greek names were also less likely to receive callbacks, a surprising result that suggests recruiters put a premium on Anglo-Saxon names rather than a discount on Chinese names, Oreopoulos said.

"We found that there is significant discrimination by name, ethnicity and city of experience," says Krishna Pendakur, co-director of Metropolis. "Employers in cities like Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver significantly discriminate against applicants with common Indian and Chinese names, relative to English names."

The study found that Canadian-born people with English-sounding names are more likely to get a call back for a job interview than internationally-born people, even if the two applicants have the same job experience.

The least discriminatory Canadian city was Vancouver, while Montreal was rated the most. Researchers said employers justified name and immigrant discrimination based on language skill concerns, time limitations and wanting to avoid "bad hires."

In order to combat name-based discrimination, researchers suggest employers mask names when sifting through job applicants and make interview choices based on skills and experience. (Source: CTV)

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