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Study: Systemic racism exists for certain job applicants

On Behalf of | Aug 19, 2021 | Employment Law

Job applicants have long suspected that racial discrimination has played a role in their lack of being hired by certain companies. Now, a recent study lends some support to that argument.

More than 100 Fortune 500 companies received an estimated 84,000 bogus job applications submitted by the National Bureau of Economic Research. And the results may have been predictable. The job applicants with Black-sounding names were 10% less likely to get a call from human resources departments than applicants with white-sounding names.

Study also measured gender discrimination

A key finding also disclosed that roughly 20% of the actual jobs applied for in the study discriminated based on race.

Another critical discovery made by the study was that a significant portion of the systemic racial discrimination took place within just a small segment of the 108 companies. An estimated half of the discrimination came from the top 20% of the companies.

Not only did the study measure racial discrimination, but gender discrimination as well. The findings also concluded that gender discrimination surfaced primarily in a small selection of firms.

The study did not disclose the names of the companies that accounted for much of the discrimination. However, these are well-known U.S. companies, according to the study’s co-author Evan Rose, a Saieh Family Research Fellow at the University of Chicago. “You know and love them … Unfortunately, it seems there’s widespread patterns of discrimination across their establishments,” Rose said during an Aug. 3 interview on National Public Radio’s Marketplace business show.

According to the study, the auto, retail and food services industries exhibited the largest racial gaps in hiring. Other industries fared better, though. For example, the health services, engineering and accommodations industries showed fewer signs of racial discrimination.

If you suspect that you have been shunned for a job interview or promotion because of your race, you need to determine your legal options. In many of these situations, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) will clearly be on your side.