Employability - Is Lisa more Employable then Lakisha?

Two prospective employee resumes come across a hiring manager’s desk. Both candidates have the same skills and qualifications as well as have degrees from prestigious colleges. One candidate however, may have an unfair advantage, a traditionally non-ethnic sounding name.
According to an article by David Wessel of the Wall Street Journal, "A white sounding name on an application is worth as much as an extra eight years of work experience."

Name Descrimination is Occuring

While a name doesn’t say anything about a person’s character or work ethic, according to a labor market discrimination study conducted by professors at the University of Chicago, Graduate School of Business, there is a substantial amount of name based discriminating occurring in the recruiting process.

A National Bureau of Economic Research Paper shows that job applicants with white names had a 50% chance of getting a callback over those who had African-American names.

Other facts from the study:

  • Only resumes were reviewed; face to face meetings never took place.
  • A white name’s callbacks yielded the equivalent of eight additional years of experience.
  • Residential address also mattered to some degree, with more callbacks received for resumes tied to wealthier, more educated or more-white zip codes.
  • Names made a bigger impact on results than addresses did.
  • Results were the same across occupation and industry categories covered in the experiment.
  • For companies with the “equal opportunity” byline, results didn’t seem to make a difference!
  • More education and more skills displayed on a resume with an ethnic sounding name didn’t make a difference to the outcome.
  • Names that indicated gender also had an effect on results.

Names Are Powerful

Names are powerful indicators of who we are. Our name serves as the label to our identity, pointing to culture, religious affiliation, sex, social position and ethnic background.

Despite laws against racial discrimination in the workforce, several studies have shown that an African or Ethnic-sounding name like Lakisha can seriously reduce an individuals' chance of being called in for a job interview

Views: 66

Comment by pam claughton on August 22, 2007 at 9:25pm
I've actually seen the opposite. That Lakisha will likely get a call as companies are seeking to increase their diversity hiring metrics.
Comment by Nicole St.Martin on August 23, 2007 at 8:57am
Good point Pam...


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