We have made great progress in North America over the last several years to battle discrimination of all types. However, a recent study in British Columbia showed that name discrimination is alive and well when it comes to interview selection.
I find this extremely sad.
The UBC study came to the following conclusions:
The study found Canadians and landed immigrants with names such as “Jill Wilson” or “John Martin” are 40 per cent more likely to be offered an interview than someone with a name like “Sana Khan” or “Lei Li,” given an identical resume.
Applicants with mixed names like “Vivian Zhang” had a 20 per cent better chance to land an interview than job-seekers with non-English names, but still less than the English-only names.
The results are extremely clear. If you have an “English Sounding” name, you have an undeserved advantage someone with identical qualifications and a “Foreign Sounding” name. And 40% is no small advantage. It would not be hard to extrapolate and assume the same advantage for wages and benefits as well.
So what’s the solution? I wish I knew. This type of discrimination isn’t something that can be solved over night. I can only hope that we can work towards breaking down these barriers and strive for a more equal opportunity process.