Help Wanted (but only if Your Name is English)

October 14, 2011 ( - Matthew Wilson could do better in the Canadian job market than Lukas Minsopoulos.

A comprehensive survey of employers in Vancouver, Montreal, and Toronto has discovered that job applicants with English-sounding names have a much better chance of receiving a callback than if they have Chinese, Indian, or Greek names.  

According to the Vancouver Sun, the research report, titled “Why do some employers prefer to interview Matthew, but not Samir?” is based on employers’ response rate to thousands of online job applications.  

To test possible discrimination by human resource officials in Canada’s largest and most multi-ethnic cities, researchers sent dozens of employers identical resumes — changing only the name of the applicant. On average, The Sun reports that University of Toronto researchers Philip Oreopoulos and Diane Decheif found that resumes featuring English names were more than 35% more likely to receive a callback than a resume featuring Chinese, Indian, or Greek names.  

However, the study discovered that of the three cities surveyed in 2010, Metro Vancouver employers, both large and small, were the least swayed by the ethnicity of applicants’ names. In Vancouver, resumes featuring English names were just 20% more inclined to get a callback than those with Chinese or Indian names.  

Employers told the researchers they were highly concerned that job applicants with foreign backgrounds would have inadequate English-language and social skills for the Canadian marketplace. The researchers theorized that name-based discrimination may well be a factor in Canada, since recruiters did not seem to improve their callback rates if resumes emphasized that applicants with Chinese, Indian, or Greek-sounding names were fluent in English or French and a mother tongue.