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Employers must ensure application process is inclusive for disabled workers

Tom Lakin, Innovations Director - Resource Solutions

In response to this latest research from the TUC that two out of five disabled workers have been pushed into financial hardship over the last year, Tom Lakin, Director of Innovation at Resource Solutions says:

“Many traditional recruitment processes and selection techniques disadvantage disabled workers. Employers have a responsibility to audit their careers content, policies and technologies to better understand where bias exists against people with disabilities.”

Is your application process inclusive? Can candidates apply in a way that suits them?
Employers should be proactive in the adjustments that they make as a result of this audit as well as how they raise awareness of their updated process for candidates with disabilities. We suggest offering a menu of adjustments or an adjustments concierge to make informed suggestions rather than solely putting that responsibility on the candidate to educate the employer. These adjustments could include replacing digital assessments with voice or dictated responses to challenges. For example, we recently piloted accepting applications via voice note, WhatsApp and even paper CVs if preferred, empowering candidates to apply in a way that meets their needs.

Language and branding also plays an integral role in ensuring that candidates with disabilities feel confident the employer is taking inclusion seriously. Many employers use legal terminology when offering reasonable adjustments to a hiring process, removing the human element of your new employee. Your language should instead focus on the value the person brings to the company, rather than just compliance to legislation.

Research shows 85% of employer branding content fails to include imagery of employees with a visible disability. At the very least, videos should include subtitles and websites should be designed with optimised accessibility features. Some websites are still difficult to use on a mobile device or cannot be navigated using a keyboard or inaccessible PDF forms that cannot be read out on screen readers, or with poor colour contrast that makes text difficult to read.

Many employers are blocking the door for talented staff with disabilities. Simple steps to adjust the application process will help to create a clearer career path for this essential workforce.”

These insights are in response to the findings of a survey of more than 2,100 adults which indicated that two in five disabled workers said they have faced financial difficulty during the pandemic compared with around one in four non-disabled workers.

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