Berlin to encourage anonymous applications | News | DW | 17.04.2012
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Berlin to encourage anonymous applications

A pilot study by the German Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency has found anonymous job applications can increase the chances of getting in-person interviews for women and minorities.

The German government says it is planning to encourage the expansion of anonymous job applications after a study made public on Tuesday found they can prevent discrimination on the basis of sex and ethnic background.

The study, presented in Berlin on Tuesday, found that women who apply to jobs without mentioning their name, age, sex, family background or marital status are more likely to be offered an interview. People with immigrant backgrounds were also given better chances.

The Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency conducted the year-long study with a mix of public and private employers including L'Oréal, Procter & Gamble, Deutsche Telekom and the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs.

Applicants first filled out standardized forms through online portals, e-mail or standard mail. Their personal details were revealed only when they were offered an in-person interview.

No plans for legislation

Surveys of the applicants in the study found that 41 percent believed the anonymous application helped their chances, while 54 percent said they felt they were better able to demonstrate their potential.

The study found that women were more likely to be asked in for interviews with the anonymous applications, however it could not concretely establish how many people were ultimately hired for jobs when they would have otherwise been overlooked.

Christine Lüders, director of the Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency, said the study has prompted "broad discussion" among the participating companies about hiring practices and how to combat discrimination.

She said on public broadcaster ZDF's talk show Morgenmagazin that the government was not considering a federal mandate for anonymous applications, but would rather work to inform employers of the potential benefits while calling for more research into the issue.

acb/ccp (epd, dapd, dpa)