Anonymous job applications key to ending discrimination?
KRF-politician Kjell Ingolf Ropstad wants to allow job seekers to apply anonymously in order to end discrimination as revealed in a new Norwegian study.
Recently, Norwegian researchers did a study in which they fabricated1,800 job applications and sent them out to different companies. All of the “applicants” had the same qualifications and level of education, but some had ethnic Norwegian names while others sounded more foreign. The researchers found out that those with foreign-sounding names were rarely called in to interview, while those with ethnic names often were. After the results of the survey were announced on Tuesday, Ropstad thinks the solution might be to give job seekers a number instead of a nam
“This has been tried out in Gothenburg [Sweden]. There, they used an ID number instead of the name and found that there were several people with non-Swedish names called in for interviews,” said the Christian People’s Party politician, who is a member of the Work and Social Committee, to VG Nett.
“It’s as simple as taking an exam where you supply a number instead of a name. After applications are submitted, you will then be able to go back to the number and get contact information and call the person into the interview. There are certainly several ways to do this,” said Ropstad.
He admits that it probably will not prevent discrimination completely.
“Because when they come to interview the attitudes still prevail. But this will ensure that more people will be able to schedule an interview, and in turn be viewed in the same way as other workers,” he said.
Robert Eriksson (FRP), head of the Work and Social Committee, does not think Ropstad’s proposal is the best solution.
“I am skeptical. The fact that one should try to cheat the system, and have people come into the interview through anonymous job applications, does not change the attitudes of employers. What is needed is a change in the employer’s attitude,” he said to VG Nett.
“I understand that it’s easy to think of hocus-pocus solutions by interfering with quotas and anonymous job applications, but I do not think it solves the bigger problem. I think it is very important for your employer to see who is seeking the job, so that they can obtain good references on them. You do not solve this with the hocus-pocus, but by systematically going in and changing the attitudes of employers.”
Akhtar Chaudhry (SV), says he has not experienced such discrimination, but he knows that it happens. He will not reject the proposal flat-out, but is not sure if it’s a good idea.
“I do not really, because it implies that we have given up. But this is so important that I do not exclude it,” he said to VG Nett.
He believes there are several other good options.
“We must, for example, look at the legislation. The researchers behind the report suggests that if a high proportion of applicants have a majority background, then the employer must justify why it is so. In addition, we must appeal to the appointment of committees, where both unions and employers sit, to take their share of responsibility,” he said.
To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (800) 305-0271.