Racial bias in hiring still rampant

Data shows 'significant discrimination' against non-white job applicants

Racial bias in hiring still rampant

Discrimination against non-white job candidates remains pervasive in the developed world – but some countries are said to be more racially biased than others, according to a meta-analysis of hiring practices.

Researchers from Northwestern University in Illinois compiled data from more than 200,000 job applications across nine countries in Europe and North America, and found “significant discrimination” against non-white natives.

“Discrimination rates vary strongly by country,” the researchers said. “In high-discrimination countries, white natives receive nearly twice the callbacks of non-whites; in low-discrimination countries, white natives receive about 25% more.”

France was found to have the highest tendency towards racial prejudice out of the nine countries examined. Non-white job applicants in France reportedly have a 43% chance of being discriminated against compared with non-white candidates in the US.

This was followed by Sweden (30%) then by the UK and Canada (11%), tied in the third spot.

Jobseekers who belong in the minority in France and Sweden would purportedly have to submit 70% to 94% more applications than white job candidates just to garner the same number of responses.

How to address racial bias in hiring
Could better data gathering and reporting help reverse racial bias? The idea is true in low-discrimination countries.

In the US – where racial bias in hiring occurs at a lower rate – there is a more open discussion of race and ethnicity in most workplaces, said sociologist and lead researcher Lincoln Quillian.

“No other countries require monitoring of the racial and ethnic makeup of ranks of employees as is required for large employers in the US,” Quillian said in a news release.

Large organisations in the US are mandated to report the race and ethnicity of employees at different ranks to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, he said.

Meanwhile, Germany – which has the lowest tendency for racial prejudice in hiring – requires job candidates to submit multiple documents in order to assess their competencies more fully.

“We suspect that this is why we find low discrimination in Germany – that having a lot of information at first application reduces the tendency to view minority applicants as less good or unqualified,” Quillian said.

“The French,” he explained, “do not measure race or ethnicity in any official – or most unofficial capacities, which makes knowledge of racial and ethnic inequality in France very limited and makes it difficult to monitor hiring or promotion for discrimination.”

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