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Why Do Skilled Immigrants Struggle in the Labor Market? A Field Experiment with Six Thousand Resumes

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  • Philip Oreopoulos

Abstract

Thousands of resumes were sent in response to online job postings across multiple occupations in Toronto to investigate why Canadian immigrants, allowed in based on skill, struggle in the labor market. Resumes were constructed to plausibly represent recent immigrants under the point system from the three largest countries of origin (China, India, and Pakistan) and Britain, as well as non-immigrants with and without ethnic-sounding names. In addition to names, I randomized where applicants received their undergraduate degree, whether their job experience was gained in Toronto or Mumbai (or another foreign city), whether they listed being fluent in multiple languages (including French). The study produced four main findings: 1) Interview request rates for English-named applicants with Canadian education and experience were more than three times higher compared to resumes with Chinese, Indian, or Pakistani names with foreign education and experience (5 percent versus 16 percent), but were no different compared to foreign applicants from Britain. 2) Employers valued experience acquired in Canada much more than if acquired in a foreign country. Changing foreign resumes to include only experience from Canada raised callback rates to 11 percent. 3) Among resumes listing 4 to 6 years of Canadian experience, whether an applicant’s degree was from Canada or not, or whether the applicant obtained additional Canadian education or not had no impact on the chances for an interview request. 4) Canadian applicants that differed only by name had substantially different callback rates: Those with English-sounding names received interview requests 40 percent more often than applicants with Chinese, Indian, or Pakistani names (16 percent versus 11 percent). Overall, the results suggest considerable employer discrimination against applicants with ethnic names or with experience from foreign firms.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 15036.

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Date of creation: Jun 2009
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15036

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Cited by:
  1. Dechief, Diane & Oreopoulos, Philip, 2012. "Why do some employers prefer to interview Matthew but not Samir? New evidence from Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver," CLSSRN working papers, Vancouver School of Economics clsrn_admin-2012-8, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 19 Feb 2012.
  2. Mahmood Arai & Moa Bursell & Lena Nekby, 2011. "The Reverse Gender Gap in Ethnic Discrimination: Employer Priors against Men and Women with Arabic Names," Working Papers CEB, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles 11-027, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  3. Arceo-Gomez, Eva O. & Campos-Vázquez, Raymundo M., 2013. "Race and Marriage in the Labor Market: A Discrimination Correspondence Study in a Developing Country," MPRA Paper 48000, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. repec:hal:journl:halshs-00587674 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. Eriksson, Stefan & Lagerström, Jonas, 2007. "Detecting discrimination in the hiring process: evidence from an Internet-based search channel," Working Paper Series, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy 2007:19, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  6. Krause, Annabelle & Rinne, Ulf & Zimmermann, Klaus F., 2010. "Report No. 27: Anonymisierte Bewerbungsverfahren," IZA Research Reports 27, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Booth, Alison L. & Leigh, Andrew & Varganova, Elena, 2010. "Does Racial and Ethnic Discrimination Vary Across Minority Groups? Evidence from a Field Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 4947, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Brahim Boudarbat, 2011. "Labour market integration of immigrants in Quebec: a comparison with Ontario and British Columbia," CIRANO Project Reports 2011rp-09, CIRANO.

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