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Job Applicants With ‘Black Names’ Still Less Likely to Get Calls

July 29, 2021, 12:24 PM

Two decades ago, a landmark study showed job applicants with “Black-sounding” names were less likely to hear back from employers. In 18 years, despite a boom in unconscious bias training and diversity initiatives, that largely hasn’t changed.

Researchers from the University of California, Berkeley and the University of Chicago sent 83,000 fictitious applications for entry-level job postings to 108 Fortune 500 employers, using randomly assigned and racially distinctive names. They found that distinctively Black names on applications with reduced the likelihood of hearing back from an employer by 2.1 percentage points relative to distinctively White names.

But differences in contact rates varied substantially across firms. About 20% of the ...