What’s in a Name?

ahmadResearcher Akhlaq Ahmad was surprised how much a name affects a job search. Photo by Henrietta Hassinen. Courtesy of Yle

A Finnish Name Gets You a Job
Yle Uutiset Selkosuomeksi
October 21, 2019

In Finland, it is easier to find a job for applicants who have Finnish names, according to a new study.

The study was carried out by Akhlaq Ahmad, a sociologist at the University of Helsinki. He sent out 5,000 job applications under names in different languages. The names were not real but invented.

The applications were filled out so the job seekers looked equally good. They also all spoke Finnish well.

The differences were great, Ahmad explained. For example, it was much harder to get a job with the name Abdirashid Mohamed than with the name Aino Hämäläinen.

In the study, companies asked more job seekers with Finnish names to interviews. Nearly 400 out of 1,000 applicants with Finnish names received invitations.

Applicants received fewer invitations to job interviews if they had Iraqi or Somali names. 134 out of 1,000 job seekers who had Iraqi names received invitations.

Somali applicants got the fewest callbacks of all. Only 99 applicants out of 1,000 with Somali names were invited to job interviews.

Akhlaq Ahmad was surprised the differences among different groups were so large.

Thanks to Tiina Pasanen for the heads-up. Translated by Living in FIN

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