Remona Aly
Friday 09 May 2014 Things Unseen

What’s in a Name?

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What’s in a Name?

If you belong to a minority faith, and your name strongly suggests that this is the case, are potential employers less likely to invite you for an interview? And would your best policy be to put something more English-sounding on your CV?

Research suggests that you may have good reason to be concerned. Five years ago, a government sting operation uncovered widespread discrimination against workers with Asian and African names. And a more recent study in France found that Muslim names in particular are a clear disadvantage when competing for jobs.

Remona Aly, herself a Muslim journalist, explores how serious this problem is – and what different people have done about it.

Among her guests are Diva Chadha, a Sikh who uses the more English-sounding name “Komilla” in the professional world because she feels a “Diva” would not be taken seriously; Muslim insurance consultant Raveem Ismail, who has broken with tradition by giving his two sons anglicized names; and solicitor Denise Lester, who feels she would have fared less well professionally if her father had not dropped his Jewish surname, Weinstein.