Job interview
According to former hiring boss, Maya Waid, there are six things you must avoid during a job interview. Pexels

In 2021, economists from the University of California Berkeley and the University of Chicago conducted a study that found that job applicants with traditionally Black-sounding names were called back for an interview 10 per cent less than their white counterparts.

The study developed from research conducted by professors at the University of Chicago two decades ago. According to the university, the 2003 findings exposed that resumes with white-sounding names were 50% more likely to get hired than those with Black-sounding names.

In a 2024 report, the authors of the past study followed up with the companies that entertained racial discrimination three years ago.

83,000 fake resumes were sent to leading US businesses as part of the research. Researchers also noted that the different names were given comparable resumes and qualifications.

The most common white names were listed as Emily or Greg, said Berkeley Economist Patrick Kline, with the most common Black names listed as Jamal or Lakisha.

According to Kline, an author who worked on the study, "To our knowledge, we actually have the highest response rate that's ever been garnered from one of these studies."

"What we think is going on here is that some places have different hiring practices than others. In some places, it's not very internally regulated by HR practices," Kline explained. "So, whoever's maybe working a shift at that restaurant that day can sift through the applications and decide who they want to call for an interview next week. At other places, there are more hoops that you have to jump through before you can decide to call someone back."

In the most extreme circumstances, some companies went for white-sounding resumes by an average of 24 per cent more than that compared to their Black counterparts.

The auto services sector was most likely to favour resumes with white-sounding names.

Researchers listed the parent company of NAPA Auto Parts, Genuine Parts Company, alongside AutoNation, known for being one of the biggest auto retailers in the US, as businesses with the most disparate response rates.

Costco was also identified as a company with racial preferences.

Genuine Parts Company, AutoNation and Costco have not commented on the matter.

Speaking to National Public Radio, Kline explained: "Putting the names out there in the public domain is to move away from a lot of the performative ally-ship that you see with these companies, saying, 'Oh, we value inclusivity and diversity'."

"We're trying to create kind of an objective ground truth here," he added. "From these insights in psychology and behavioural economics, individuals are inevitably going to carry biases along with them, and it's not automatic that those individual biases will translate into organisational biases."

In the UK, according to the Racism at Work in the UK report published by DEI Consultants Pearn Kandola, 74 per cent of employees said that racism in the workplace was a problem.

The report, which surveyed 1,203 UK employees, also exposed that more than half, 52 per cent of employees, had witnessed racism at work, but only one in five, 22 per cent, chose to report the incident to management or HR.