A field experiment testing for discrimination in the Austrian labour market
Sprache des Vortragstitels:
13th Conference of the European Sociological Association (ESA)
Sprache des Tagungstitel:
Internationally, it is unusual or even illegal to attach photographs to job applications. In the German-speaking world, however, it is a common and expected practice across all sectors of the labour market to send a portrait photo when applying for a job. This provides those employers and human resource developers who hold racial stereotypes with an opportunity to discriminate not only based on foreign names but also based on skin colour and other visual clues of ethnicity. This paper investigates whether such discrimination occurs in Austria and if so, to what extent. I present results of a correspondence testing experiment in which applications of a number of fictional characters were sent in response to job advertisements in the tourism sector across Austria. The applicants had comparable resumes and qualifications but differed in their names (native, Nigerian, Chinese) and in their enclosed portraits that depicted Caucasian, African or Asian models. The number of invitations to job interviews (callbacks) per fictional character tells, whether some ethnic groups are more popular on the labour market than others. Results show that both clues - names and photographs - affect the callback rates of the applicants, however, to differing extent depending on the applicants? ethnic backgrounds. Callback rates are always highest for native applicants, suggesting discriminating behaviour by employees. Differences between Chinese and Nigerian applicants exist as well and may be explained by varying sets of stereotypes associated with both groups.