Discrimination in the workplace is a topic which is constantly discussed and studied, with the fight for equality in all areas including gender, sexuality and disability on-going. With anti-discriminatory laws and policies in place, it’s shocking to learn of new findings regarding how inequality is very much present in the modern workplace.

Previously on 1850 Thoughts, we’ve looked at how important it is for offices to be suitable for disabled individuals – that’s from layout, facilities such as lifts for wheelchair users and Induction Loop Systems for those with restricted hearing, to specialist training and support.  We’ve also focused on policies, bias and inclusion issues at work regarding disabled employees.

A new study from the Recruitment Industry Disability Initiative (RIDI) has shown that despite some progress since 2015, disabled jobseekers are still affected by hiring bias.

In 2015, RIDI’s survey revealed that 85% of jobseekers said their disability had a negative impact on their job-hunting process. 2017’s results reveal that 75% still feel this way; so while this percentage has dropped, it’s slow progress, with 3 in 4 still experiencing bias and discrimination when looking for work.

The amount of individuals who said their disability didn’t affect their job hunt only rose to 14% in 2017 from 3% in 2015; that percentage is still pretty low. In 2017’s results, 53% found they felt hindered as early as the application stage, with obstacles such as not being able to drive due to their disability, and being unable to partake in telephone interviews, for example.

A respondent with a hearing impairment commented on how telephone interviews were a challenge when job-hunting: “I just can’t do them. Recruiters constantly wanting to talk to me on the phone is annoying.”

Kate Headley, director of consulting at The Clear Company and RIDI spokesperson, highlights the importance in companies being inclusive when hiring: “The organisations we work with are no longer asking ‘why?’ they should become more inclusive, but ‘how?’. Employers are increasingly realising that unless their processes are inclusive, the best person for the job may never even apply for the role – let alone make it to interview,”

Respondents also outlined what should be available during the recruitment process to ensure hiring companies can be accommodating for all abilities:
  • Choice of contact method
  • Extra time for assessments
  • Fixed deadlines to plan applications
  • Online interviews rather than face-to-face
  • Allocated parking spaces
Morgan Lobb, CEO of Vercida.com, which distributed RIDI’s survey comments: “The findings of this survey are reflective of what our candidates have long been telling us – that there are a myriad of obstacles throughout the recruitment process that they must navigate in order to secure a role. However it’s encouraging to see that we are making progress.”

Laura Sewell

An aspiring journalist, Laura is our Content Writer.  Pop-punk gig-goer and drag queen enthusiast, Laura is working her way into the industry with a love of writing about anything and everything in tow.
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