Researchers at the University of Connecticut find that employers are less likely to respond to a job application if a resume mentions an applicant’s religion.
UConn Sociology professor Michael Wallace and his co-authors created fictional identities and resumes for four recent college graduates, and submitted more than 6,000 applications to employers advertising for jobs in New England and in the south.
Wallace said these were all high-achieving students whose resumes varied basically on just one point: whether or not they listed a religion, "such as Catholic, Evangelical Christian, Atheist, Jewish, Muslim, [and] Pagan. We also created a fictional religious identity, which we called Wallonian. The control group, of course, had no religious identity whatsoever."
Wallace found that putting any kind of religious identity on the resume was a negative factor for employers. "We attribute this to the fact that in the United States," he said, "we have sort of a schizophrenic attitude toward religion. On the one hand, we espouse religious freedom, and we appreciate religious diversity. On the other hand, we prefer that the practice of that religion not be carried into public places in an overt manner such as the workplace."
Wallace said that far and away, the group that received the strongest negative reaction was Muslims. Researchers were surprised by the extent to which Muslims received negative treatment.
The research is published in two journals: Research in Social Stratification and Mobility and Social Currents.