The DWP study revealed discrimination occurred for those applying for jobs with a name suggesting they were from an ethnic minority, rather than white British.
For every nine applications sent by a white applicant, an equally good applicant with an ethnic minority name had to send 16 to obtain a positive response.
Three applications were sent to 987 advertised job vacancies giving a total of 2,961 applications. Applications were made to private, public and voluntary sector employers of varying sizes.
The public-sector vacancies included in this study, which usually required standard application forms, did not discriminate at this initial stage of recruitment.
Jim Knight, minister for employment at welfare reform, said: ?"Some employers are discriminating when it comes to choosing staff. This has no place in a modern society and racial discrimination cannot be allowed to continue.
"We introduced laws to stop discrimination at work and strengthened them in 2000. We also introduced new diversity and equality requirements in DWP contracts with suppliers. Employees can use the Race Relations Act to take employers to a tribunal if they are being treated unfairly and they will also get support and advice from the European Human Rights Commission to do so.
"We are determined to stop this scourge on society - the Equality Bill will strengthen our hand and we are already preparing to publish specific plans for dealing with discrimination in the workplace later this year."
And Sandra Kerr, national campaign director at Race for Opportunity, added: ?"We welcome all research into the ethnic minority employment gap and, in particular, into the reasons why ethnic minorities remain underrepresented in the UK workforce. But it is important that we work beyond the headlines, and concentrate on addressing the causes for this unfairness."