Most college students who pursue higher education at the nation’s elite universities are under the impression that a degree from such a prestigious institution will ease their way when they seek job opportunities in the future.
It’s a claim that’s true for most students….unless you’re Black.
A researcher from the University of Michigan recently confirmed that even when Black students excel in the classroom, obtain degrees from the most prestigious universities and perform at the level of their white counterparts, they are still far less likely to get callbacks for job positions if the employer suspects that they are Black.
S. Michael Gaddis, who conducted the study, wrote that, “The opportunities that arise upon graduation from an elite university are not equal between whites and blacks.”
Gaddis noted that Black graduates from elite universities still had an advantage over students from less prestigious universities when they entered the job market, but they still lagged significantly behind their white peers.
“Although there is a clear premium to a degree from an elite university over a less selective university for both white and black candidates, black candidates still lag behind white candidates in employer responses,” Gaddis added.
When it came to white candidates from less prestigious universities, Black graduates from elite schools barely edged ahead of them in employer responses.
Employer response to Black job candidates from elite schools like Harvard and Stanford was roughly 11 percent higher than white candidates from less prestigious universities.
The study used faux profiles for job candidates that altered the fictional candidates’ names.
He used “racialized names” that had strong links to either a white or Black background.
Names like Jalen and Nia were used to represent Black candidates and names like Caleb and Aubry to represent white candidates.
The profiles were used to apply for more than 1,000 jobs as Gaddis then kept track of which profiles were the most likely to receive callbacks.
Profiles with names that suggested the candidate was white and attended an elite university had an employer response rate of 17.5 percent.
Profiles with names that suggested they were Black and attended an elite university had an employer response rate of less than 13 percent.
According to Gaddis, this means a white graduate from a top university only had to send out six resumes to get a lead on a job while a Black candidate who was equally as qualified had to send out at least eight resumes to get a response.
To make matters worse, the disparities didn’t stop with callbacks.
Even when Black graduates finally received a request for a follow up interview, they were offered significantly lower salaries than their white counterparts.
“Black candidates receive responses for jobs that have a listed salary $3,071 lower than white candidates,” the study found.
While the study confirmed that attending a prestigious university boosted a Black candidate’s chances of finding employment, it also made the racial disparities in the job market even more evident.
The study adds to an already extensive list of studies that prove even an “elite education does not erase racial inequality during the preliminary stages of the employment process.”