A recent study conducted by Metropolis British Columbia, titled “Why do some Canadian employers prefer to interview Matthew but not Samir?” found there is significant discrimination against immigrants in the Canadian labour market. The study examined call-back rates from resumés submitted to online job postings for multiple occupations across the country in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal and interviewed recruiters to explain why they believe name discrimination happens.
The study findings revealed that employers in three of Canada’s biggest and most multicultural cities – Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal – significantly discriminate against job applicants with common Indian and Chinese names when compared to English names. The call-back rates were larger in Montreal and smaller in Vancouver. The study states that name-based discrimination is largely unaffected by including other indicators of language and social skills.
Recruiters interviewed for the study stated that employers often treat a name on the resumé as a signal that an applicant may lack language or social skills. The findings suggest that there is subconscious and implicit discrimination by employers who discriminate against immigrants based on their names. Employers justify the discrimination on the basis of concerns about language skills, but incorrectly overemphasize these concerns without taking into account the characteristics and abilities listed on the resumé. The study also states that pressure to avoid bad hires exacerbates these effects, as does the need to review resumés quickly.
In order to address issues of discrimination against immigrants in the Canadian labour market, the study suggests that employers mask names when deciding whom to interview, train recruiters to be more aware of possible bias, and consider better ways to discern applicants’ language abilities.
To access “Why do some Canadian employers prefer to interview Matthew but not Samir?” visit mbc.metropolis.net.