News Agencies – November 23, 2010
Muslims face “massive discrimination” when applying for jobs, according to the first major academic study of anti-Muslim bias among employers in France. The French study found that a fictional job applicant with a traditionally Christian first name was more than two-and-a-half times more likely to receive a response from a potential French employer than an identical applicant with a Muslim name.
The scientists who carried out the research believe the highly significant difference in response rates was entirely due to the perceived religious affiliations of the job applicant rather than any prejudice connected with differences in race, age or gender. The researchers, led by David Laitin of Stanford University in California, created and mailed out 275 pairs of résumés to French employers advertising for jobs. Each of the paired résumés was identical in terms of job qualifications and experience except for the names of the applicants.
One of the applicants had a Christian given name, “Marie Diouf”, while another had a Muslim given name, “Khadija Diouf”. To emphasize the religious difference in the applicants, Maire Diouf said she worked for Catholic Relief and was a member of Christian scouts, and Khadija Diouf said she had worked for Islamic Relief and was a member of Muslim scouts. Khadija Diouf received a response rate of 8 per cent while Marie Diouf’s response rate was 21 per cent. The study is published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.