In a bid to tackle discrimination and unconscious bias in the job application process, the Victorian government will trial the removal of personal details from applications.
The process will include the exclusion of each candidate’s name, gender, age and location, a first in Australia’s history, and close to home for Minister for Multicultural Affairs Robin Scott.
According to the Bendigo Advertiser, Mr Scott’s wife Shaojie, who is of Chinese background, on occasions has opted to use her anglicised name, Jade Scott, for job applications, having noted a significant increase in responses; a shared experienced amongst various multicultural community groups Down Under.
“We’re not talking about overt bigotry or racism; this is not people who are going to a Reclaim Australia rally,” said Mr Scott.
“This is a much more subtle process, where we make assumptions about people based on limited information.”
The trial will be run over a period of 18 months, with major government departments such as WorkSafe and Victoria Police, and private company Westpac taking part voluntarily.
Research conducted by the Australian National University backs the need for such a trial.
Data showed that to receive the same number of positive responses as those with an Anglo-Saxon name, a Chinese person had to submit 68 per cent more applications, a Middle Eastern person 64 per cent more, while an individual of Indigenous background needed to submit 35 per cent more, and an Italian person 12 per cent more.
But Mr Scott is adamant that greater diversity within companies will not only benefit the individual, but the company itself, demonstrated by figures from the Diversity Council of Australia. Companies with great diversity see up to 50 per cent higher equity returns and 15 per cent higher gross earnings than those with lower diversity.