Canadians with English names have a greater chance of landing a job than those with Chinese, Indian or Pakistani names, says a new study.
In fact, after sending out thousands of resumés, the study found those with an English name like Jill Wilson and John Martin received 40 per cent more interview callbacks than the identical resumés with names like Sana Khan or Lei Li.
“If employers are engaging in name-based discrimination, they may be contravening the Human Rights Act,” said the study’s author, Philip Oreopoulos, economics professor at the University of B.C. “They may also be missing out on hiring the best person for the job.”
Twenty per cent of the resumés with foreign names even listed fluency in English, French and their mother tongue, but Oreopoulos said “it did not seem to make a difference at all.”
He said that the distinct foreign-sounding name may be a “significant disadvantage” even for second- or third-generation citizens who are applying for jobs, but it is still better for them than their parents.
Another interesting finding was that, Chinese resumes that had English first names increased the chances of getting a callback.
Those Canadians with English names are stealing our jobs!
I’m one of those second-generation Canadians with a non-English first and last name being discriminated against. I’ve never listed “fluent in English” or “native English speaker” on my resumé, despite having a Chinese first and last name. I find it insulting—being born and raised in Canada—to have to mention it. (Although I do not list my place of birth or citizenship, either, for the same reason.) It is somewhat comforting to know that if I had accommodated the white lens, it would have not helped me anyway in this case.
Should I apply for jobs using an English first name? On the one hand, I increase my chances of getting a callback and landing a job that matches my interests and abilities. On the other hand, I would become another one of those Chinese Canadians with an assimilative English first name, and I may have to exchange my Antiracist of Colour membership card for the sell-out one.