Two new studies: fewer employers respond to resumes that mention religious affiliation

The article about the studies appeared in Religion News Service.


Recent college grads, take note: Mentioning a campus religion group on your resume — particularly a Muslim club — may lead to significantly fewer job opportunities.

Two new sociology studies find new graduates who included a religious mention on a resume were much less likely to hear back from potential employers.

The studies used fictitious resumes — with bland names that signaled no particular race or ethnicity. These were sent to employers who posted on the CareerBuilder website to fill entry-level job openings in sales, information technology and other fields suitable for first jobs out of college.

The researchers tested seven religious categories including: Roman Catholic, evangelical Christian, atheist, Jewish, Muslim, pagan, and one faith they just made up, “Wallonian,” to see what would happen compared to people who made no faith reference.

Fewer employers called back the “Wallonians,” as well as the others, reacting to “a fear of the unknown,” said University of Connecticut sociology professor Michael Wallace who led the studies.

In the South, where researchers sent 3,200 resumes, those with a religious mention got 29 percent fewer email responses and 33 percent fewer phone calls than otherwise identical resumes with no faith ties according to the study, released by the Southern Sociological Society on their Social Currents site.

Muslims faced the sharpest discrimination with 38 percent fewer emails and 54 percent fewer phone calls to the voice mailboxes set up by the researchers.

In New England, 6,400 applications were sent to 1,600 job postings by employers. But applications mentioning any religious tie were 24 percent less likely to get a phone call, according to the study published in Research in Social Stratification and Mobility.

Again, Muslims bore the brunt of discrimination, receiving 32 percent fewer emails and 48 percent fewer phone calls. Catholics were 29 percent less likely to get a call and pagans were 27 percent less likely — slightly better than the “Wallonian” applicants.

Fascinating. I think that there is something in American society that is frightened by people who have definite views on theological truths and moral truths. We don’t mind if you have these opinions as a personal preference, for your own life enhancement, but don’t bring it up in public as if it were real for everyone else.Why is that?

Well – I think it’s because people have these experience with religion being presented to them as children in non-cognitive ways. As a result of having it forced on them when they are young, they get uncomfortable with it. Once children get that perception that religion is a bunch of rules and regulations, they don’t have the same curiosity or tolerance for it. Some of them might even have had discusions with people who were all passion and no reason / evidence. People who would not give it a rest. Nobody wants to have a co-worker who has strong views about things, but cannot discuss it rationally when it’s appropriate to do so.

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