Anatomy of An Anonymous Hiring Pilot*

Working Papers 338 Ohto Kanninen, Sanni Kiviholma, Tuomo Virkola

Anonymous hiring restricts the information set available to hiring managers and can create a trade-off between discrimination and hiring efficiency. To study this potential trade-off, we leverage a pilot by the City of Helsinki during which hiring to some but not all job titles were subject to anonymization. We find a positive effect on hiring applicants with foreign names but no effect on job duration or wages. Announcing anonymous hiring increases job applications but this is not driven by applicants with foreign-sounding names. Instead, we observe more women applying. We find evidence that once hiring managers are allowed to opt in to anonymous hiring (vs mandated), this induces self-selection which could have important consequences for the effectiveness of the policy and explain why our results differ from some previous research. Results suggest that anonymization can work as an effective tool to fight against discrimination at least when it is not an opt-in policy.

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