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Embracing Skilled Newcomers and Cultural Diversity

19th August 2012

Embracing Skilled Newcomers and Cultural Diversity

As Auckland’s leading settlement support community agency, Auckland Regional Migrant Services Trust (ARMS) provides assistance through the job seeking process to many skilled migrants and refugees each year, the majority of whom obtain extremely good employment outcomes.

In its work with migrants, ARMS does not promote or encourage the use of anglicization or changing of names when applying for jobs.

ARMS Chief Executive, Dr Mary Dawson, says that with the value of diversity to the New Zealand workplace and economy now well proven, employers are to be encouraged to welcome applications from internationally trained skilled migrants from culturally diverse backgrounds.

Dr Dawson notes, however, that anglicizing of names on CVs is still a common practice adopted by many migrants, usually for ease of pronunciation by English speakers. The practice is also a response to the fact that some employers will not consider applications from those with clearly non-English names.

“The kiwi adage of ‘a fair go for all’ surely requires that NZ employers assess applications and content of CVs on their merits, without discrimination based on applicants’ names. Applicants should be assessed and valued according to their relevant competencies and experience. Greater acceptance of diversity enhances our workforce capability, and is one key way to address major skill shortages across many industries.”

At the same time, a survey of ARMS’ job seeker migrant clients has shown a variation of views.

“I will never change my name. It’s part of who I am and where I come from. I have adapted to the local culture and expect some adaptation from the people here, including potential employers,” states Kanchan Shenoy, a Permanent Resident living in NZ for the past two years, with three years of office administrator experience.

“If I had a name which was hard for my employer to pronounce, I wouldn’t mind changing it”, is the view of Edwin Socorin, an IT specialist who came here two years ago and is on a Work Permit.

“I don’t think that changing my name should be relevant to getting a job. I think my qualifications, attitude and personality should be more important”, is the position taken by Gazelle Garcia, also an IT professional who arrived here four years ago and is a Permanent Resident.


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