Friday, May 22, 2009

Non-anglo names barrier for job hunters

Source: Vancouver Sun

Canadians with Asian names face a daunting level of hidden discrimination when searching for a job, University of B.C. economics professor Paul Oreopoulos has found.

“In some cases, applicants are being turned down for an interview because of their name, even if they are the better hire,” he said.

Oreopoulos sent out 6,699 fake resumes to Toronto-area employers in 2008, changing up the applicant’s name, educational background and country of work experience.

Even when applicants had identical Canadian work experiences and educational backgrounds, every 100 resumes with English names resulted in roughly 16 calls from employers. For every 100 resumes with Asian names, only 11 generated calls from employers. That means a resume with an English name was 40-per-cent more likely to generate a call back.


Sad but true. That's why most Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese and to a lesser extent Japanese use English names in North America. It's just easier.

I've heard it around the office too. People dogging on other people's names cause it's too hard. The idea of finding a job is to get your foot in the door and then knock them out with your fabulous interviewing skills. But with a difficult name, sadly alot of people won't get through the first screening at some companies.

How about you? Have you ever found any obstacles with your name?


Angry Asian said...

as as recruiter i see this alot. it's a sorry fact of life. i had a colleague name his youngest baby a rather generic name (compared to the Carters, Fallens etc that are so popular right now) because he didn't want his baby to be discriminated against. i have clients tell me that they'd prefer candidates with "simple" and "safe" names like Jennifer, Catherine, John, Michael etc. and i will admit it, when i screen resumes, if the name is one that i cannot pronounce, it goes into the bottom of the pile unless the person has steller skills.

on a personal level, when i became a US Citizen i had the option of changing my name but i decided to keep my asian name. it's who i am. knock on wood, but i've never had an issue with interviewing or finding employment due to my name. i think if the resume and application is written properly, then that will be what shines thru, not so much the ethnic name.

Degenerasian said...

But the ethnic name versus english name is always the tiebreaker isn't it? With all the obstacles we have to face, alot of them are out of our hands but this one is one we can control. English name is just easier.

If you change to an English name, you don't lose your Asian name. It just get tacked on.

George said...

I wrote a column about that yesterday.

Degenerasian said...

Funny I never would have considered "Werner" a foreign name or one that would be encounter this situation. But that's just me cause I think of names more like Thuy or Shiliang or Bhupinder or Umur etc etc..