In a field experiment, a British research group sent 2961 applications to 987 advertised job vacancies between November 2008 and May 2009. For each vacancy, three applications were sent: one with a "white name" and two with different minority ethnic group names (African, Caribbean, Chinese, Pakistani/Bangladeshi), e.g. Nazia Mahmood, Mariam Namagembe and Alison Taylor. There was an even split in the proportion of the applications that were male and female. The researchers made sure that the fake applicants did not differ in their qualification but only in their names and the associated ethnicity. While the levels of discrimination between male and female applicants were similar, there were high levels of name-based discrimination. A ratio of 1.74 was found, in other words, 74% more ethnic minority than non-minority applications needed to be sent to get the same number of positive responses.
Wood, M., Hales, J., Purdon, S., Sejersen, T. & Hayllar, O. (2009) A test for racial discrimination in recruitment practice in British cities. A report of research carried out by National Centre for Social Research on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions.
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