Swiss with ‘foreign-sounding' names 'less likely to get job interviews'

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Swiss with ‘foreign-sounding' names 'less likely to get job interviews'
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Swiss with a migration background are required to send in one-third more applications in order to get a job interview, regardless of their qualifications or experience.


A team of researchers from the Swiss Forum for the Study of Migration at the University of Neuchâtel tested identical resumes, changing only the names. 

Where the CV included a foreign-sounding name, applicants were required to send 30 percent more resumes in order to get a job interview, when compared with applicants with ‘traditional’ Swiss-sounding names.

Swiss with backgrounds from Kosovo, Cameroon and Morocco are among the most discriminated against, despite being born in Switzerland and having achieved identical qualifications.

READ: How employers and landlords in Switzerland 'discriminate against Swiss citizens of immigrant origin'


Rosita Fibbi, one of the authors of the report, said the goal was to get a better perspective on the nature of discrimination in applying for work. 

“This study aimed to take stock of the situation of the integration of the children of migrants who grew up here, who have the same qualifications and who know the language, to find out if, on the labour market, they manage to argue their qualifications exactly like Swiss of Swiss parents,” Fibbi said. 

The discrimination was especially high for Swiss of Kosovar origin, who needed to send 40 percent more applications in order to get a call back. 

Fibbi said the results showed that job seekers' concerns about the existence of discrimination were well-founded. 

“Often, the difficulties of access to employment for migrants and their children are explained by shortcomings in their linguistic or educational level,” she said. 

READ: ‘I pay taxes but have no say in Swiss life': Your views on whether Switzerland should allow all foreigners to vote 

“What our study shows is that even when the contract is fulfilled, they are discriminated against. 

“It is not up to them, but to the way society looks at them, who still cannot see them on an equal footing.”

Part of a broader trend

While the results may be troubling, they appear to be part of a broader trend in Swiss society. 

In addition to employers, landlords have also been shown to discriminate against naturalized citizens in Switzerland. 

Discrimination on the basis of race is illegal in Switzerland. 

Approximately one in four residents of Switzerland is foreign-born, in addition to a large proportion of the country which are considered second-generation Swiss. 


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