Sweden Sweden


Arai, M., Bursell, M. and Nekby, L. (2016) “The Reverse Gender Gap in Ethnic Discrimination: Employer Stereotypes of Men and Women with Arabic Names”, International Migration Review, Volume 50, Issue 2. Summer 2016, pp. 385–412

View full Research



Type of publication

Survey - quantitative research

Geographical coverage


Area/location of interest

Not applicable - national level

Type of Institution



International Migration Review

Main Thematic Focus


Target Population

Migrants People with migrant background

Key findings

The study shows that persons with Arabic names are 21 – 23 percent less likely to be called to an interview than persons with Swedish names. When an extra year is added to the work experience of a woman with an Arabic name she is as likely to be called to an interview that a woman with a Swedish name with one year less work experience. The same does not hold true for men with Arabic names that remain less likely to be called to an interview, regardless of their better merits. Employers were first sent CVs of equal merit in a field experiment. Arabic-named CV were then enhanced with more relevant work experience than the Swedish-named CV. Contrary to what is often assumed about the interaction of gender and ethnicity, the study shows that Arabic men face stronger discrimination in the labour market than Arabic women.

Methodology (Qualitative/Quantitative and exact type used, questionnaires etc)

The study is based on a field experiment using a correspondence testing method where fictitious résumés (CVs) were sent to actual job openings. The résumés were constructed with randomized modules. A statistical analysis was then run to see if there were any statistical significant differences of call-backs from employers to applicants with Swedish names and Arabic name. The data was also analysed to differentiate between female and male applicants.

Sample details and representativeness

During the first stage of the experiment, 566 (283 CV pairs) observationally equivalent CVs (192 females and 374 males) were sent to job openings within the five chosen occupational groups. In the second stage of the experiment, 584 CVs (292 CV pairs) were sent to employers; the applications with Arabic names were enhanced with higher levels of work experience in the field.

DISCLAIMERThe information presented here is collected under contract by the FRA's research network FRANET. The information and views contained do not necessarily reflect the views or the official position of the FRA.