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Foreign name scuppers job chances

The Local · 4 Jul 2014, 15:08

Published: 04 Jul 2014 15:08 GMT+02:00

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A new study conducted by the University of Linz on behalf of the Ministry of Social Affairs suggests that people with foreign-sounding names fare worse in the Austrian labour market.

Job seekers with a migration background end up submitting many more applications than those who sound Austrian, in order to be invited for a job interview, OE1 radio reported on Friday. 

According to the Austrian National Broadcaster's (ORF) report, study author Doris Weichselbaumer created a set of fictitious job seekers for the study with names that sounded Austrian, as well as names that sounded Serbian, Turkish, Chinese and Nigerian. 
However, all the candidates had the same education and the same amount of work experience. 
The only difference was that some had a migration background, and this was evident from the name and photo of the applicant. All were identified as Austrian citizens.
Weichselbaumer sent 2,142 applications to companies in Austria, of whom 642 candidates were invited for interviews - usually those with an Austrian-sounding name. 
According to the results, candidates with foreign names had a 25 to 30 percent lower chance of being invited by companies for an interview.
There was a particularly pronounced degree of discrimination against people with an African background. They had to apply twice as often compared to native Austrians in order to obtain an interview, according to the study. 
The basis of the discrimination, according to Weichselbaumer, could not be justified by different work skills or language ability.
Story continues below…
For foreigners seeking jobs, one possible approach might be to consider changing your name to something a little more 'Austrian'.

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