Study reveals discrimination as CVs with ‘non British names’ don’t result in interviews – except in tech sector

Competing to land a job in the UK is tough – although a new study from StandOut CV reveals it’s significantly tougher if you don’t have a “British sounding” name on your CV.

The CV advice site took one good CV from 6 major job sectors, and created 2 separate versions of each that were almost identical – except each had one differentiating factor – the two were  headed with a different name.

CV 1 was headed with Adam Smith

CV 2 was headed with Ravindra Thalwal

Each CV was used to apply for 50 similar jobs in the same field and experience level, with care taken to match location and salary expectations each time.

Applications were spread evenly across the major UK job websites and staggered equally over the course of one working week.

Essentially, everything about these applications were the same… except the candidate name

What does the research show about names on CVs?

Overall, researchers found that having a non-British name makes candidates less likely to receive a response from recruiters when applying for a job in the UK, although the results varied by sector.

In the Sales and Admin fields in particular, the non-British named CV received less than half the amount of responses than it’s British named twin.

In Finance it is almost as tough for non-Brit’s, with Adam’s CV receiving 34 responses out of 50 applications, whilst Ravindra’s identical CV only getting 21 out of 50.

The graduate sector seems to be a slightly more level playing field, although still tipped in favour of the British-named CV, with Adam’s CV achieving a 78% success rate and Ravindra’s just slightly behind with 72% of applications getting a response.

The only sector where the Non-British CV found more success was Technology, with the British named CV receiving 39 responses from 50 applications, and the non-British CV receiving 42 responses from the same amount of applications. This translates to a 6% increase in success rate for the non-British named CV in the Tech sector.

StandOut CV director Andrew Fennell commented;

“Many of our clients complain of discrimination against non-British names in the job market, so we thought we would try to learn if there was any truth in these claims. Sadly, the results do seem to suggest that job seekers with non-British sounding names don’t seem to be getting fair treatment.”

“It was actually quite shocking to see that in some cases, when we applied to a job with the non-British named CV and didn’t get a response – we would apply the next day with the same CV but headed with a British name, and it got a fairly rapid response”

“The graduate and tech sectors seemed to buck the trend – maybe it’s because those sectors are a little more forward thinking? We are hoping to carry out a bigger study soon to get some conclusive answers, as we’ve only really worked with a relatively small data set thus far.”