New research published recently by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) showed that racial discrimination in recruitment still exists towards ethnic minority applicants.

The research was carried out by the National Centre for Social Research. Three very similar applications were submitted in response to 987 advertised job vacancies giving a total of 2,961 applications across a particular set of occupations and areas between November 2008 and May 2009.

The study showed that people applying for jobs with a name that indicated they were from an ethnic minority (rather than white British) were likely to suffer discrimination. For every nine applications sent by a white applicant, an equally good applicant with an ethnic minority name had to send sixteen to obtain a positive response.

One of the three had a white British name (such as Alison Taylor or Andrew Clarke) while the other two were from different ethnic minority groups (such as Nazia Mahmood, Muhammed Kahlid, Mariam Namagembe and Anthony Olukayode). The names were randomly assigned to the different applications.

All the applications contained British education and work histories and were made to private, public and voluntary sector employers of varying sizes.

The public sector vacancies included in the study – which usually required standard application forms - did not discriminate at this initial stage of recruitment. This suggests, according to the study, that discrimination might be reduced by the use of standard application forms.

The Government said that the need for the research was based on the persistent and unexplained gap in the employment rate between the ethnic minority population and the population of Great Britain.

To read the report, go to: