French Muslims four times less likely to get a job interview than Catholics

30th Oct 2015

Elham Asaad Buaras

According to a think tank study published on October 9 a practising Muslim man is four times less likely to get a job interview in France than a Catholic counterpart.

The research was carried out by the Montaigne Institute which sent out thousands of CVs to job adverts using fictional names and backgrounds.

Men who identified as practising Muslims had a 4.7 percent chance of being asked for a job interview, compared to 17.9 percent of practicing Catholics and 15.8 of practicing Jews.

Catholics were twice as likely as Muslims to get a call back for a job interview.

The study was carried out by Marie-Anne Valfort, a senior lecturer at Sorbonne University in Paris, who sent 6,231 responses to job adverts between 2013 and 2014.

All of her candidates were Lebanese, born in Beirut in 1988 with the last name Haddad.

Valfort used the names Dov and Esther for Jews, Michel and Nathalie for Catholics, and Mohammed and Samira for Muslims.

They were also listed as having attended faith schools and religious scout groups.

“It probably under-estimates the level of discrimination: all studies show that discrimination is present at each step of recruitment,” said Valfort.

Valfort also created a “non-religious” set of candidates to see how that affected the results.

When Mohammed said he belonged to a secular association, he almost doubled his chances of getting a job interview compared with the Mohammed who identified as a practising Muslim.

Interestingly, Catholics halved their chances if they identified as secular instead of religious.

“It’s likely that an attachment to Catholicism is seen by recruiters as a sign that a man is more disciplined,” the study said.

Her next question was whether the discrimination still held true for exceptionally gifted candidates.

She created profiles with excellent school results, skills and experience.

This removed discrimination when it came to women, with Jews and Muslims doing just as well as Catholics.

But for men, it actually made things worse: a gifted Catholic man was five times more likely to get an interview than a gifted Muslim, and 1.5 times more likely than a Jew.

France’s biggest Muslim advocacy group which records Islamophobia in the country welcomed the study but say they are unsurprised by Valfort’s findings.

“Islamophobia has become an acceptable form of racism which is met with total impunity,” said Yasser Louati, spokesman for the Collective Against Islamophobia in France (CCIF).

He told The Muslim News 69% of all reported Islamophobic incidents in France involve a form of discrimination.

“Discrimination is a deeply rooted practice in French society and this study, which is not the only on the topic, confirms the findings of the CCIF that being perceived as Muslim in France is enough to exclude you from the rest of society.”

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