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Finance & Innovation

Holland to Eliminate Names From Resumes to Stop Discrimination

Job discrimination is a global issue with serious consequences. But it's also something that can be corrected for, and now the city The Hague in Holland is showing the world how this can be done.

Recently, the city decided that resumes should not feature an applicant’s name or other markers of racial or ethnic background. In doing so, many of the conscious or unconscious biases that lead to racial and ethnic disparities in the workforce can be mitigated.

They came to this conclusion after conducting an experiment. For six months, a city council in the Hague kept track of individuals who submitted resumes without their names or ethnicities, and they found that the amount of people from ethnic minorities who were selected for interviews nearly doubled.

This finding aligns with a vast amount of similar research. When it comes to hiring, bias is rampant.

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In 2005, a study cited in The New York Times, found that “teachers had lower expectations for children with unusually spelled names like Da’Quan, even when compared to their siblings with "less black-sounding" names like Damarcus.”

The Times also reported on a variety of social science experiments that further analyzed the extent of discrimination in regards to jobs, medical care, car sales, apartment opportunities, auctioned goods, and decisions in a court of law.

A study in France, proved that individuals applying to jobs with more foreign sounding names get significantly less call-backs than those whose names are familiar.

Forbes pins this phenomenon less on discrimination and more on homophily-- a preference for people who are more like you, which is another way of saying discrimination.

One field that has come under fire for discrimination is technology.

In January 2014, Google released the data for its gender and race breakdown of its global workforce and the results were unfortunate.

“The report shows 30% of Google’s 46,170 employees worldwide are women. But just 17% of women are actually in tech jobs, with 21% of women in leadership roles.”

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And the breakdown by color was not any better. Among US leadership roles,  72% of employees were white, 30% were Asian, 1.5% black, and 1% hispanic.

Google understands this lack of diversity is both unfair and hurts the company, and are implementing measures to improve the numbers.

As for now, we applaud The Hague for their decision to give everyone an equal the opportunity to showcase their experience, but also understand that we mustn't give up fight for equality!


An earlier version of this article implied that the country of Holland adopted this policy, when it was just The Hague.