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Geneva fights prejudice with anonymous CVs

Jobseekers will get interviews purely on the basis of skills and experience Keystone

Prospective employees in Geneva are to send in anonymous job applications as part of a pilot project to tackle discrimination.

This content was published on March 21, 2006 - 20:26

The trial, the first of its kind in Switzerland, has been launched by the canton's integration office and involves three major employers.

Retailer Migros, energy provider SIG and the commune of Vernier have all signed up to the scheme.

Under the terms of the project, which will last for three months, jobseekers will send in CVs detailing their skills and experience but omitting their name, address, age, sex, any religion or disability and photo.

The aim is to give all applicants an equal chance of being called up for interview.

"It is impossible to quantify but we know there is much more discrimination than we are aware of. People are not getting interviews because they are of a different nationality, colour or religion," André Castella, head of the project, told swissinfo.

"The important thing is that candidates who have the right skills for a job should be seen, and we want to give them the chance to be heard. There are employers out there who refuse to consider Africans."

Injustice

Castella said another aim of the trial was to encourage employers and the public to talk about discrimination and raise awareness about the scale of injustice.

He added that the idea of anonymous CVs had already been tested in France where the country's National Assembly is due to consider making the practice mandatory for all firms with more than 50 employees.

Jean-Charles Bruttomesso, director of human resources at Migros Geneva, said all applications for positions until June 30 would be considered purely on the basis of skills and experience.

He noted that the retailer's involvement in the project was part of ongoing equal opportunity efforts.

"This initiative is an occasion for all of us to think about our prejudices and other preconceived ideas and question them," he said.

Those behind the scheme admit that an anonymous CV will not rule out the possibility of discrimination once a candidate arrives for an interview but they stress it is an important first step.

The launch of the pilot project forms part of the canton's week-long series of events against racism and discrimination.

swissinfo, Adam Beaumont in Geneva

Key facts

According to the integration office:

Canton Geneva has a population of 440,000.
39% are foreigners.
52% were born abroad.
66% of the canton's Swiss nationals have at least one foreign parent.

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