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

Scary US Elections: Americans in Lappeenranta Speak Out

Ariel Massengale (left) and Samarie Walker play for the Lappeenranta Katz basketball team. Photo courtesy of Kai Skyttä and Etelä-Saimaa
Ariel Massengale (left) and Samarie Walker play for the Lappeenranta Catz basketball team. Photo courtesy of Kai Skyttä and Etelä-Saimaa

Scary Elections
Kaisa Juntunen
Etelä-Saimaa
November 4, 2016

Scary. Really scary. Teacher Elena Barrett, who hails from Connecticut, describes the US presidential election in these terms. Ohio basketball player Samarie Walker and her Illinois teammate Ariel Massengale use the exact same expression.

“I’ll move from the country if Donald Trump wins. I don’t want a sexist, racist president,” Walker blurts out.

Walker has already inquired about whether she can get a visa to Canada or England.

“I’ve lived in many countries, and moving doesn’t seem impossible at all.”

Walker and Massengale say many of their friends are having the same thoughts.

“But they are hardly serious. If a person hasn’t been outside her own state, she is not likely to move abroad,” says Walker.

Talk of moving speaks to the fact people are really scared.

“I’m afraid racism would increase and the position of blacks would become harder if Trump were in power,” says Walker.

Walker believes the circumstances of many other groups, such as gays, would become more difficult.

Trump’s belligerence also appalls Walker.

“It sounds bad that Trump would have decision-making power over nuclear weapons.”

Walker and Massengale think Hillary Clinton has the right priorities, such as equal rights and education.

Massengale says she has exercised her right to vote. Despite her tough opinions, Walker neglected to vote.

Elena Barrett teaches at the Lappeenrannan Lyseo Upper Secondary School. Photo courtesy of Elena Barrett

Elena Barrett, who teaches at the Lappeenrannan Lyseo Upper Secondary School, closely follows the electoral battle in her homeland.

She earnestly hopes Donald Trump will not win. Barrett fears democracy in America will crumble if Trump comes to power.

“For a while it seemed Trump had no chance of winning, but the situation has changed now the FBI has begun to investigate Clinton’s emails again.”

Barrett believes the situation has tipped in an alarming direction and Trump may well win.

Even if Clinton won, the duel would not be over, in Barrett’s estimate.

“If Trump loses, he will hardly be satisfied with the outcome. For one, he would be in the media a lot, raising grievances and seeking to complicate Clinton’s job as president.”

Barrett has not voted herself.

“I’m resident of a state where the votes always go to the Democrats, i.e., Clinton, for whom I would have voted.”

Barrett supported Bernie Sanders in the primaries.

Barrett has noticed that Finnish high schoolers are very interested in the US elections and especially in Trump.

Translated by Living in FIN. The article was published in the print version of the newspaper (“Pelottavat vaalit,” Etelä-Saimaa, November 4, 2016, p. 6). The link, above, is to a slightly different version of the article published in the online edition.