What’s in a name? Plenty, it seems to some employers. According to the results of a new study conducted by the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, “white-sounding” names, such as Kristen or Brad, routinely elicit 50 percent more callbacks than “black-sounding” names, such as Rasheed or Aisha. See Job Search Harder with ‘Black’ Name. The study was conducted by sending companies resumes in response to open positions advertised in classified ads. Researchers sent four resumes for each posting: two for “high-caliber” applicants, and two for “low-caliber” applicants, with each pair represented by a white-identified name and an African-American identified name. After comparing the callback results for the various resumes, the researchers concluded that for every 10 resumes sent out by an applicant with a white-sounding name, someone with a black-sounding name would have to send out almost 15 resumes to receive the same response. Notably, companies who advertised themselves as “equal opportunity employers” were no more likely than other employers to respond favorably to applicants who could be perceived to be African-American. The researchers concluded that the study results suggest that there is still a “substantial amount of discrimination in the job recruiting process.” While some of us always suspected as much, here’s just a bit more proof.

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Madeline Messa

Madeline Messa is a 3L at Syracuse University College of Law. She graduated from Penn State with a degree in journalism. With her legal research and writing for Workplace Fairness, she strives to equip people with the information they need to be their own best advocate.