Name Blind CVs
Numerous studies demonstrate that certain names are more likely to be chosen for a job than others. Not only is it harder to get a job if your name isn’t Anglo-Saxon, but there is a preference for names that are common and easy to pronounce.
Because of this unconscious name bias, several major public and private employers in the UK signed a pledge last year to remove applicants’ names from CVs, and this applies to universities as well. This year, the scheme is being trialled in Victoria, which may also remove gender, age, and location from applications. Taking part is voluntary, and so far WorkSafe, Victoria Police, and Westpac are among those who have signed up for it.
Big Earning Names
Employment company LiveHire looked through its data set of 70 000 profiles to see which names made the most money. The top male earners were Stuart, Donald, Gregory, William, and Kenneth, while women named Heather, Joan, Carolyn, Kerry and Megan earned the most. Meanwhile, names that were struggling financially were Ethan, Francis, Lucas, Samuel, Joshua, Beverley, Amelia, Ruby, Isabella, and Dianne.
LiveHire says these results are for fun, and don’t have any scientific basis. In most cases the high earners have names that peaked in popularity several decades ago, while the Joshuas and Rubys are still young and have not had time to establish themselves in their careers. Older struggling names are possibly more common amongst those from a lower socioeconomic background. LiveHire says there is no need to change your name in order to earn more.
The Smartest Names
Genealogy website Moose Roots collected almost 15 000 names of great philosophers, writers, mathematicians, scientists, inventors, artists, and composers to identify their most common first names.
The top names of genius men were John, Robert, William, Charles, David, James, Richard, Johann, George, Paul, Thomas, Peter, and Joseph (the Beatles all had four fab genius names!). The smartest women were Mary, Elizabeth, Maria, Anne, Margaret, Susan, Ruth, Anna, Alice, Dorothy, Jane, Helen, and Charlotte.
Far from demonstrating that these names are necessary for genius, they just show the most common names over time, with names such as John, William, Mary, and Elizabeth being highly popular for centuries. I fully endorse naming your child after a wonderful namesake if you want to, but think choosing one with a more unusual name, such as Linus or Octavia, would be a lot more distinctive.
The Most Successful Names
Professor Albert Mehrabian from the University of California, has written a book called The Baby Name Report Card, based on extensive surveys of how people perceive names (or how they perceived them in 2002 anyway).
People thought the most successful-sounding women’s names were Jacqueline, Morgan, Elizabeth, Katherine, Victoria, Lauraine, Susan, Catherine, Kate, and Madeleine, and the most successful men’s names were Steven, Ross, Christopher, James, Robert, David, Kenneth, Parker, Thomas, and Madison. Who were these people who thought Madison seemed like a successful man, rather than a 10-year-old girl?
Names that people thought were bound for failure were Wilma, Weeza, Virgie, Trixie, Tina, Swoosie, Suzee, Soosie, Sissy, and Mush for women, and Rufus, Rude, Butch, Alfie, Gary, Normee, Bud, Petie, and Phonso. A definite prejudice against short forms and names nobody has ever heard of can be detected.
There’s nothing wrong with choosing a baby name that a lot of other people like, but the crowd tends to be very conservative, and somewhat behind the trends.
Brand Names – in Line with Baby Names?
Research on brand names showed that in the 1970s and ’80s the letter K was a favourite for leading brand names, such as Kellogs, Kit-Kat, Kodak, Kmart, and Kentucky Fried Chicken. K stood out as memorable, because it is a plosive sound (like B, hard C, D, G, P, and T), and looks distinctive. However, it turns out that there are trends in brand names as well.
New research shows that the most common letters for the top companies in the Fortune 500 begin with A (such as Apple and American Express) and J (such as JP Morgan and Johnson & Johnson). This correlates with the most popular baby names of a few years ago, where names such as Alexander, Amelia, James, and Jasmine were the most common.
If brand names and baby names do come into fashion at the same time, not only does it explain why Kevin and Kristen flourished at the same time as Kodak and Kmart, but it suggests that leading brands in the near future will begin with A, E, J, K, and L – the most common initials of popular baby names last year.
77% of people were broadly in favour of names being removed from the CV of job applicants, with 23% thinking it was a great idea, and 26% thinking it didn’t go far enough, and that all identifying information should be removed as well. 28% were in favour theoretically, but thought it would be impractical to implement. 18% didn’t think such measures were necessary, and 5% weren’t sure what to think.