Disturbing but not new

Forgive me for working from memory here:

A government sting operation targeting hundreds of employers across Britain has uncovered widespread racial discrimination against workers with African and Asian names.

Researchers sent nearly 3,000 job applications under false identities in an attempt to discover if employers were discriminating against jobseekers with foreign names. Using names recognisably from three different communities – Nazia Mahmood, Mariam Namagembe and Alison Taylor – false identities were created with similar experience and qualifications. Every false applicant had British education and work histories.

They found that an applicant who appeared to be white would send nine applications before receiving a positive response of either an invitation to an interview or an encouraging telephone call. Minority candidates with the same qualifications and experience had to send 16 applications before receiving a similar response.

While this is indeed evidence of discrimination it\’s not actually new information about it. There have been several US studies showing exactly the same results with \”black\” names.

It was in Freakonomics wasn\’t it?

8 thoughts on “Disturbing but not new”

  1. So – change your name, get an interview. The same principle applies to call centres, where Deepak becomes Dave, and we can connect, no?

  2. I also question the study. I’ve been fed such bullshit for so many years from the grievance industry my default position is to believe them to be lying shits until proven otherwise. So, did they fiddle the results? Ignore data that didn’t prove their conclusion? Tinker with the process? Send more ethnic applications to non-hiring employers?

    And even if the study is truly scientific, does it prove racism or does it show that employers are more wary of the risk of hiring ethnic minorities like they already are worried about hiring women of childbearing age?

  3. What about the many companies that are exclusively staffed by ethnic minorities? Anyone tried to mail those companies with white working class names looking for jobs? (…)

    And what about the many ethnic minority racists who abuse legislation to harass and blackmail companies and colleagues?

    For as long as their racism is not tackled head-on and there is no fair (and affordable) way of getting rid of anti-social employees who use their ethnicity as a weapon, people are correct not to take on the risk that can easily bankrupt an entire company.

    So, please don’t use the consequences of unchecked racism and racist legal activism to smear the victims of that very racism as racists if they only want to avoid trouble. (dizzying isn’t it…)

    This problem can only be tackled head on in a comprehensive way and that means to not tolerate any racism from anyone of any colour and to do away with the insanely expensive grievance industry that has sprung up to prey on white people and their businesses.

    It’s simple economics not racism that produces those awful results!

  4. What is prejudice? I have always understood it to mean drawing a conclusion before hearing all the evidence. The sorts most commonly touted are racial prejudice and gender based prejudice.
    In practise we all have to be prejudiced to get through the day. There is simply not time to find out all the relevant facts before a decision has to be made, so a few obvios markers are spotted and decisions are based on them. If I see a bunch of young men, shaven hair, braces, big boots I assume that they could be trouble and keep clear- it’s a prejudice, they may all be lovely boys, but it would take too much time to find out properly. If someone is seen waving a swastica they are assumed to have NaZi sympathies- they may in fact just think it’s pretty, but no-one has the time to check. These prejudices last a little longer than they are useful- if choirboys started wearing cropped hair and boots, the prejudice would fade, if the mild hindu started sporting swastica the association wouls fade.
    If an employer has had worse experience with people with one type of name compared to another he will naturally channel his energies towards recruiting the less troublesome group- at least as long as there are sufficient applicants.
    In my view all the anti prejudice laws boil down to an attempt to cure the symptoms without tackling the basic problem- that people with foreign names tend to fit in less well than people with native names.

  5. Well employing someone who can take you to race relations tribunals after not being promoted. Or refuse to carry crates of alcohol, complain food is not halal, or lack of prayer room etc.

    I really can see why an employer would avoid foreign names.

  6. I like how these researchers wasted businesses’ time with fake applications. If I ran across a candidate I wanted to interview, only to find out the person didn’t actually exist, I’d be more than a bit annoyed.

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