Ethnic and gender discrimination in recruitment: experimental evidence from Finland

Karmela Liebkind, Liisa Larja, Asteria Brylka

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticlepeer-review


We ask (1) how the position of an ethnic (majority or minority) group in the local ethnic hierarchy affects the amount of recruitment discrimination faced by applicants from that group, and (2) whether gender discrimination is dependent on occupational gender stereotypes in the same way among ethnic majority and minority applicants. We use the situation testing method for the first time in Finland: In an experimental study (Study 1), 103 dentistry students made recruitment decisions based on the CVs of three bogus applicants from different ethnic groups (Finnish, Austrian and Polish) and in a field experiment (Study 2), four test applicants (male and female Finns and Russians) with equivalent CVs applied for 1,258 vacant jobs, addressing gender discrimination in relation to occupational gender stereotypes as well as ethnic discrimination. Together these studies cover both skilled (Study 1) and semi-skilled jobs (Study 2) and applicants from ethnic minority groups originating from within as well as outside the EU. Results show that majority group members are more likely to be hired compared to minority members (both Studies) and that minority members from a higher status group are more likely to be hired than those from a lower status group(Study 1). Results also show that male applicants from the majority group were discriminated compared to women in occupations characterised as feminine, while Russian men faced recruitment discrimination compared to Russian women independently of the job’s gender stereotype (Study 2). Implications of recruitment discrimination based on ethnicity and gender are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Social and Political Psychology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jun 2016


  • Ethnic discrimination
  • labour market discrimination
  • ethnic hierarchy
  • occupational stereotypes
  • situation testing


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