Job applicants with convictions for violence are more likely to be taken on than those with Arabic surnames, criminologists have found.
Researchers sent out 520 applications for a 20-year-old male for low-skilled work in the construction, technical and logistics sector, the Volkskrant reports. The profiles were submitted with a mix of ‘obviously Dutch’ and ‘Arabic-sounding’ surnames and various degrees of criminal record, from a clean slate to sexual offences.
The results showed that 32% of applications that used a Dutch surname and no criminal record were successful, compared to just 9% of similar applications in a foreign name. The proportion was roughly similar for those with criminal records.
Applicants with a violent past and a Dutch name stood a better chance than those with an Arabic name but no history of violence, said researcher Chantal van den Berg. ‘I don’t want to generalise, because it’s a sample that we took in 2013, but it’s certainly alarming.’
Labour market economist Stijn Baert, of the University of Ghent, said the findings supported earlier research in Flanders that indicated employers were more likely to dismiss applications from people with a minority ethnic background or a disability than those with violent convictions.
He said anonymous applications would be a step in the right direction, but cautioned that the measure might be less effective in stamping out discrimination than its supporters believe. ‘At the second stage you’re no longer anonymous and at the first stage it rules out the possibility of positive discrimination.’