In yet another study on discrimination in recruitment, identical applications with different names had starkly different success rates. A western sounding name was three times more likely to be invited to an interview.
Race discrimination has been unlawful in the UK since 1976, and discrimination on grounds of religion has been oulawed since 2003. Despite the legal protections, conscious and unconscious bias still impacts recruitment decisions, particularly against minorities.
So could name-blind applications be the answer? In the same way that it is less common nowadays to put your date of birth on your CV to avoid age bias, omitting your name from the first stage could well help prevent prejudice being a factor in who gets invited to interview. Of course, it cannot rule out the risk of discrimination completely, as in attending the interview, assumptions could still be made based on appearance and name at that stage.
Ensuring that managers are well trained in the recruitment process, the Equality Act and unconscious bias will help your business stay the right side of the law and hopefully mean that the best person is offered the role regardless of their name.
Inside Out London sent CVs from two candidates, "Adam" and "Mohamed", who had identical skills and experience, in response to 100 job opportunities. Adam was offered 12 interviews, while Mohamed was offered four. Although the results were based on a small sample size, they tally with the findings of previous academic studies. The fake candidates applied for 100 jobs as business managers in the competitive field of advertising sales in London. After two and a half months, Adam was offered three times more interviews than Mohamed. The two CVs were also uploaded to four job sites. Adam was contacted by five recruiters, but Mohamed only two.Prof Tariq Modood from the University of Bristol said: "What we've identified very clearly is that the Muslim-sounding person's CV is only likely to get an interview in one out of three cases."