Saturday 24 October 2020

CVs from minority candidates twice as likely to be deleted unseen, study finds

Employers are twice as likely to ignore a job applicant’s CV if they have a non-Dutch sounding name, according to new research into discrimination in the labour market.

Resume agency CVster e-mailed applications to 120 companies in four sectors with equal credentials but a range of different names and used tracking software to record how the messages were received.

Only 2% of applications with the name Arthur Landschot were left unopened, compared to 11% when the email carried the name Anil Yirak, Azzedine Boutahire or Kwabena N’Golo. Similarly, recruiters left 20% of CVs with a minority ethnic name untouched but only 11% of those that bore a Dutch name.

Studies have shown for years that candidates with a minority ethnic background face systemic discrimination when applying for jobs, but this is the first evidence that they are are at a disadvantage even before their qualifications are been assessed.

‘It’s interesting to see that even in a strengthening jobs market discrimination is still going on,’ Christoph Meng, of the University of Maastricht’s education and labour market research centre, told NOS. ‘It makes it increasingly difficult for employers to claim that the education or competence of the applicant is the reason why they are not invited for interview.’

In the study by CVster, 38% of minority ethnic candidates were invited for interview, against 45% of applications sent in under Dutch names. The ratio of CVs opened to candidates selected for interview was roughly the same for both groups, indicating that applicants were less likely to be discriminated against if their resumes were actually read.

The study also found wide discrepancies between the four sectors where the applications were submitted. Employment agencies opened 100% of CVs with Dutch names but only 86% from minority ethnic candidates, while in the education sector the position was reversed: applications with non-Dutch names were 5% more likely to be looked at.

Thank you for donating to

The team would like to thank all the generous readers who have made a donation in recent weeks. Your financial support has helped us to expand our coverage of the coronavirus crisis into the evenings and weekends and make sure you are kept up to date with the latest developments. has been free for 14 years, but without the financial backing of our readers, we would not be able to provide you with fair and accurate news and features about all things Dutch. Your contributions make this possible.

If you have not yet made a donation, but would like to, you can do so via Ideal, credit card or Paypal.