A quarter of ethnic female execs forced to change their name

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Almost a quarter of professional women with ‘non-white’ sounding names have changed their name to sound more ’traditionally British’ in order to get a job, new research has found.

The survey by Nottx - the UK’s only ‘nam-blind’ headhunting platform - has reported that 78 per cent of women surveyed felt that their gender and ethnicity were barriers to employment.

This compares with 56 per cent of men who took part believing that they had been discriminated against over their ethnicity.

The findings come after the UK Cabinet Office announced that it will ‘name-blind’ recruitment for the NHS and the Civil Service by 2020. Prime Minister David Cameron previously referred to a black woman who had changed her name to Elizabeth to get a job, and Nottx.com consequently estmiated that over 50,000 people may have changed their names in this manner in the IT and finance sectors alone.

However,only a tiny percentage - 0.3 per cent of respondents - would be willing to speak out publicly on the issue - with almost two thirds believing that this would harm future job prospects.

Almost all - 97 per cent - of people who had changed their name for a job application reported a higher level of responses from potential employers.

Biju Menon, founder of Nottx.com, said: “There is an insidious culture of unconscious bias in the corporate world against professionals who are either female, an ethnic minority or both. We believe the problem is most acute in the finance and IT sectors, but it may be more widespread than we originally thought.

“Employers need to stop paying lip service to the idea of name-blind recruitment and realise unconscious bias is an all-pervasive force in the recruitment sector. Only by recognising it, embracing ethical hiring and removing all reference to names in the recruitment process will we reach a point where no-one will ever have to change their name in order to get a job again.”