Changing names to boost job prospects

03 Jul, 2018

A new study by Professor of Diversity Edwina Pio has found that migrants are using "more Kiwi-sounding” names to increase their chance of finding employment.

In a new report titled "Name-Changers are Game-Changers" Edwina explores the how the names of individuals influence access to work in organisations.

"Individuals change their name when they immigrate as it gives them an opportunity to fashion a new persona for themselves, their families and their employment and business prospects," Edwina writes.

The report yielded mixed responses from employers asked if an applicant's name has any sway over the recruitment process, and also found that many migrants who anglicise their names for employment opportunities are happy to do so.

"Three interwoven themes recur, first name changing facilitates escaping and avoiding ethnic or religious persecution," Edwina explained.

"Secondly, it signals cultural integration to employers and organisations ... and the third highlights how name changers may adopt a fluid style to interact with their receiving country's organisational and managerial practices and to navigate complex community tensions based on their 'new' name."

The study involved face-to-face interviews with 20 participants - both employees and employers - and conversations with 70 participants across the country.

Read the New Zealand Herald article for more about Edwina's research.

New Zealand Herald website

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