Should you change your name to get a job?

By Vikram Barhat, BBC

In a world where assumptions based on ethnicity can often hamper job opportunities for minorities, Terrence King feels like he got a raw deal.

Unable to deal with frequent rejections, he decided to ditch his birth name and adopt an English name. “Now things are different for me,” says King, a business lecturer in Auckland. “I’m confident there will always be a job for me somewhere with my English name and qualifications to match.”

New Zealand-based Paul Spoonley, a researcher at Massey University, says there is significant name and accent discrimination exhibited by employers in New Zealand that can be tied to assumptions around ethnicity.

Not everyone is keen to make drastic changes to their CV or their name. Ratna Omidvar, the founding executive director and currently a visiting professor at the Global Diversity Exchange, a think tank on diversity, migration and inclusion, at Toronto-based Ryerson University’s Ted Rogers School of Management says she nearly changed her name when she first arrived in Canada in 1981, but “couldn’t do it because my name is just as much a part of me as the colour of my skin.”

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