Employer Discrimination Against Asian-Sounding Names Continues

Hey, remember that time in 2009 when Texan Rep. Betty Brown suggested that Asian Americans should adopt more “American” names like her own so they are “easier to deal with”?

A new study on discrimination from Canadian researchers at Ryerson University and the University of Toronto, suggests that Brown’s not the only one who has a problem with “foreign”-sounding names in North America.

According to the study, which sent out 13,000 computer-generated resumes to 3,225 jobs in Toronto and Montreal, Asian-sounding names received 28 percent less callbacks than Anglo-sounding names, meaning that for every 100 calls received by Anglo names, Asian names received 72.

Resumes used by the study had equivalent qualifications, with the only variance being names with Anglo-Canadian, Chinese, Indian or Pakistani character. All candidates were Canadian in origin.

Findings also varied by employer size. While 20 percent less employers of a larger company were likely to call candidates with Asian-sounding names in for an interview, the odds doubled to 40 percent less when it came to smaller employers.

The study contacted the employers for perspective and found that many “indicated that an Asian name suggested the possibility of language problems and heavy accents.”

The findings may well reflect circumstances across the rest of North America. Last year, a two-year study in the Administrative Science Quarterly Journal “found that Asian job candidates in the U.S. were almost twice as likely to receive a call back if they whitened their resumes by changing their names and excluding race-based honors and organizations.”