Non-English names a barrier for jobs in Canada

May 21st, 2009 - 1:20 pm ICT by IANS  

Toronto, May 21 (IANS) It pays to anglicise your name in Canada - not only to fit in but also find employment.
A study by the University of British Columbia in Vancouver has found that applicants with English-sounding names have 40 percent more chances of being called for interview than those with Indian, Chinese or Pakistani names.

The startling fact that discrimination is rampant in Canada came to light when the study team sent thousands of applications to Canadian employers.

They found those “with English names like Jill Wilson or John Martin received interview callbacks 40 percent more often than identical resumes with names like Sana Khan or Lei Li”, a university statement said Wednesday.

“The findings suggest that Canadians and immigrants with non-English names face discrimination by employers and help to explain why skilled immigrants arriving under Canada’s point system - with university degrees and significant work experience - fare poorly in today’s labour market,” the statement added.

“The findings suggest that a distinct foreign-sounding name may be a significant disadvantage on the job market - even if you are a second- or third-generation citizen,” said study leader and university economics professor Philip Oreopoulos.

As part of the study, Oreopoulous and his team prepared 6,000 mock resumes to represent new immigrants and Canadians with and without non-English names.

Each resume listed a bachelor’s degree and four to six years of experience, with name and domestic or foreign education and work experience randomly assigned.

These resumes were e-mailed to 2,000 online job postings advertised by employers in 20 occupational categories in the Greater Toronto Area.

Oreopoulous said: “If employers are engaging in name-based discrimination, they may be contravening the Human Rights Act.

“They may also be missing out on hiring the best person for the job.”

The study also showed the in-built bias against immigrants with no previous job experience in Canada.

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