While there is ample evidence of discrimination against ethnic minority candidates in hiring, most existing studies have focused on stigmatised immigrant groups. Using a correspondence test to ethnic discrimination in the Swiss labour market is enumerated, varying the a priori stigma of the immigrant groups. The field experiment compares candidates with Swiss names against candidates with German, Kosovar and Turkish names in a paired correspondence test spanning four occupations. Results from attitude research in Switzerland lead to the expectation that these groups will face different rates of discrimination, with candidates with Kosovar names being the most stigmatised and candidates with German names facing the least discrimination. Between October 2017 and April 2018, applications were sent in response to 560 real vacancies in the German-speaking area of Switzerland. Across the minority groups, the relative call back rate was 1.13, meaning that minority candidates have to write 1.13 times as many applications as majority candidates to be invited for a job interview. The relative call back rates differ by the ethnic origin: Germans experience almost no discrimination across all occupations, Turks face a relative call back rate of 1.14, and Kosovars encounter the highest relative call back rate across occupations (1.26). We conclude that existing studies may give the false impression that all immigrants suffer from substantive discrimination in the labour market because they focus on stigmatised groups.
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Notable exceptions are for example McGinnity and Lunn (2011), who included German-named candidates in their Irish study, Booth et al. (2012) who included Italian-named candidates in their Australian study, or Busetta et al. (2018) who included also German-named candidates in their correspondence test in Italy.
The Migration Policy Index (MIPEX) measures integration policies in 38 countries in eight policy areas, one of them being anti-discrimination policy.
An overview of the international feedback can be found on https://www.humanrights.ch/en/switzerland/recommendations/discrimination/legislation-discrimination/ (last accessed 16.03.2018)
The occupations included amongst others receptionists, bakers, sales assistants, hotel personnel or construction workers.
Nevertheless, some employers discovered that the nursing diplomas were forged and complaint to the police. Judicial proceedings were initiated based on the forgery of documents and the misuse of the logo of the Red Cross which is visible in the diploma. The Public Prosecutor’s office in the Canton of Neuchâtel decided not to pursue the case further, since the researchers did not seek to enrich themselves and were unaware of the special protection of the Red Cross logo. A working paper discussing this experience will be published in the near future.
The profiles were assigned randomly and analysis controlling for the impact of these modifications did not yield significant results.
Weichselbaumer (2016b) provides detailed information on the construction of the photographs using student models, that were pre-tested, digitally altered and rated on several dimensions such as “looks, likability, intelligence, reliability as well as their overall score” (p. 10).
The photos were randomly attached to the applications. A control in the analysis showed no effect of the photo.
In only three (out of 560) cases, employers tried to send rejection letters by post, which were returned to sender and emailed to the applicants as scans.
The “Stellenmarkt Monitor Schweiz (SMM)” is a project by Buchmann et al. at the University of Zürich which has been documenting the development of the publication of vacancies in Switzerland going back to 1950. The SMM draws a representative sample of vacancies from a number of publication channels during 1 week each year, since 2001, it is available for all of Switzerland and since 2006, the database also includes vacancies published in online job portals (Buchmann et al. 2015)
Using probit regressions, we controlled for the effect of the photo, gender, and photo interacted with gender was controlled, but none of the results were significant.
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I would like to thank Daniel Auer, Rosita Fibbi, Flavia Fossati and Didier Ruedin for their comments.
This research was supported by the NCCR—on the move funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation.
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Zschirnt, E. Evidence of Hiring Discrimination Against the Second Generation: Results from a Correspondence Test in the Swiss Labour Market. Int. Migration & Integration 21, 563–585 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12134-019-00664-1
- Ethnic discrimination
- Labour market
- Correspondence testing