The effect of degree of ethnolect on applicant employability: A New Zealand case study

Tod, Danielle Natasha (30 June 2018). The effect of degree of ethnolect on applicant employability: A New Zealand case study (Unpublished). In: Sociolinguistic Symposium. University of Auckland, New Zealand. 27.-30.06.2018.

The current study considered the impact of degree of Māori English ethnolect on applicant employability rankings, in the context of the employment interview in New Zealand. The impact of listener social factors on employability rankings was also considered, including age, gender, years of experience in hiring, industry of work and listener mono-/multilingualism. The presence of three potential mediator variables was also analysed, including understandability, status and solidarity. A mixed methods approach was taken, in which the matched guise technique was employed as a means of indirect attitude elicitation, and semi-structured interviews were undertaken as a means of direct attitude elicitation. Survey participants included 62 employment experts who had lived in New Zealand for a period of two years or more, while the interviewees consisted of four employment experts who had lived in New Zealand for 17 years or more. Results indicated that as degree of applicant ethnolect increases, employability ratings decrease for high-status positions. The opposite pattern was evident for low-status positions. Listener characteristics had no significant impact on employability ratings. In terms of mediator variables, understandability, status and solidarity were all found to have a partially mediating effect. These findings indicate that the use of a standard variety is preferred by employers for high-status positions, and this relationship is mediated via perceived understandability, status and solidarity. These findings help in raising awareness as to potential accent-based discrimination in the workplace both in New Zealand and globally, which could result in the alleviation of discriminatory behaviours by employers in favour of fairer hiring strategies.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Speech)


06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Linguistics and Literary Studies > Institute of English Languages and Literatures

UniBE Contributor:

Tod, Danielle Natasha


800 Literature, rhetoric & criticism > 820 English & Old English literatures
400 Language > 420 English & Old English languages




Leona Josefine Irmgard Goop

Date Deposited:

17 Apr 2019 10:52

Last Modified:

17 Apr 2019 10:52


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