A quarter (23%) of professional women in the UK with ‘non-white’ sounding names have changed their name to sound more ‘traditionally-British’ in order to get a job, according to a study by Nottx.com.
The survey – the first of its kind in the UK of professionals who believe they have been discriminated against in the past while job-hunting due to their name (89%) – found the incidence of name-changing among professional men was lower than women at one-tenth (9%). However, while 56% of men felt they had been discriminated against due to their ethnicity, nearly four-fifths (78%) of women felt both their gender and ethnicity were barriers to employment.
These findings come after the Cabinet Office announced earlier this year it will initiate ‘name-blind’ recruitment processes for the NHS and Civil Service by 2020. The Prime Minister also made a pledge to end recruitment bias at last year’s Conservative Party conference, in which he referred to a young black woman who had to change her name to ‘Elizabeth’ in order to get a job. However, the survery highlights she is not an isolated case, and estimates approximately 50,300 minorities may have changed their name in the IT and finance sectors alone, 28,300 of them female.
Only 0.3% of the anonymous respondents said they would be willing to speak out publicly on the issue of ‘name-changing’. Among those who declined to comment, the most common reason provided (62%) was a fear that it would affect their future job prospects. Nearly all respondents (97%) who did change their name when applying for jobs reported a higher level of call-backs from potential employers relative to their efforts under their legal-name.