Skip to main content
Business & Finance

The Resume Bias: How Names and Ethnicity Influence Employment Opportunities

The name and its ethnic background in shaping an individual's career opportunities is an often-overlooked aspect of the recruitment process. Yet, it plays a critical role in determining who gets a chance to step through the interview door. This research project aims to shed light on this hidden bias that affects millions of job seekers.

"The Resume Bias" project is more than a study; it's a movement towards a fairer and more inclusive job market. By integrating a large resume study, literature review, research methods, leadership insights, and media engagement, it offers a multifaceted exploration of a critical issue:

Largest International Discrimination Study

With a staggering submission of over 12,000 job applications to more than 4,000 job advertisements, this study stands as the largest international discrimination research of its kind. The focus is on understanding how names and ethnic backgrounds influence hiring decisions in Australia, and the implications this has on diversity and equality in the workplace.

Applicants with English names received 26.8% of positive responses for leadership roles. Non-English names received 11.3%. Applicants with English names received 21.2% of positive responses for non-leadership positions, while non-English names received 11.6%. The findings suggest that a re-engineering of the recruitment process is needed.

Literature Review on Name and Ethnic Discrimination

A comprehensive literature review serves as the foundation of this project, exploring existing theories, studies, and findings related to name and ethnic discrimination. This review synthesizes knowledge from various disciplines, providing a nuanced understanding of how names and ethnic backgrounds can influence perceptions and decisions in hiring.

Analyzing 123 "resume studies" from various nations, I found that over 95% identified high ethnic discrimination in recruitment, with ethnic minority applicants receiving about half as many positive responses. The discrimination was found to be consistent against both immigrants and second-generation immigrants, emphasizing that the ethnic minority name itself is the hindrance.

Research Methods Article

A research methods article details the innovative approaches and methodologies employed in this study. The article outlines the design, execution, and analysis, offering valuable insights for future research. The research methods article presents resume studies as natural field experiments used to measure labor market discrimination by standardizing resumes and varying individual characteristics.

Despite its robustness, this method is underutilized in management and organisational psychology research. I provide a comprehensive overview of best practices for resume studies, including a step-by-step plan to guide researchers.

I also discuss challenges in the design and implementation of these studies and offer solutions to address them. Finally, I outline potential avenues for future research and emphasize how these studies can contribute to reducing hiring discrimination.

Media Engagement Articles

The project's impact extends beyond academia, with numerous media engagement articles that bring the research findings to a broader audience. These articles translate complex research into accessible insights, sparking conversations, raising awareness, and influencing public opinion on name and ethnic discrimination in employment.

Leadership Coaching and Workshops

Building on the resume bias project, we specialise in individual leadership coaching. If you are interested and would like more information, please visit the coaching and workshops webpage.

Project status: Ongoing

Principal Investigator