Photographer: Christophe Morin /Bloomberg

French Companies Discriminate in Hiring, Labor Ministry Says

  • Testing firm sent out 3,000 fake resumes to 40 large companies
  • Less than 30% of companies responded to Arab-sounding names

About a third of French companies discriminate against job applicants with Arab-sounding names, according to a study of 40 large firms commissioned by the Labor Ministry.

The employers were further questioned by officials from the labor ministry and 12 found to have discriminated were asked to come up with plans to rectify their hiring practices.

“I will be particularly attentive to the effect of the corrective measures that were proposed and I will take action if they turn out to be insufficient,” Labor Minister Myriam El Khomri said in a statement. “Discrimination is against the law and it is an economic absurdity.”

ISM CORUM, a company that specializes in testing, sent 3,000 job applications with equivalent qualifications but different sounding family names to 40 companies with more than 1,000 employees. In 28 of the companies, there was little difference in who was invited back for interviews. In 12 cases, there was as much as a 35 percent difference between the call-back rates for those with French names and those with North African names, the Labor Ministry said.

The rates of discrimination were roughly the same for entry-level and manager positions, as well as between male and female applicants, it said.

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