Chirac backs anonymous job applications


After the three weeks of rioting this autumn - France's worst civil unrest since the mass protests of 1968 - French President Jacques Chirac has backed the idea of anonymous job applications to beat entrenched racial discrimination against ethnic minorities.

"I'm for the anonymous CV," Chirac said. "To effectively fight the discrimination and prejudices that plague our society, we can't exclude any effective method and must be very pragmatic."

Last year, a French employment agency answered 258 job ads for senior salespeople and managers by sending a total of 1,806 fictitious résumés. Almost 30 percent of white French men and 26 percent of white French women received positive responses.

But when the résumés were changed to have Arab-sounding names, the positive response rate dropped to only 5 percent.

Speaking in Le Parisien newspaper, the suggestion was among his responses to 50 wide-ranging questions from readers asking how he would solve the social problems that fanned the unrest across France.