Three-quarters (75%) of disabled people have found that their condition has an impact when job hunting, according to research from the Recruitment Industry Disability Initiative (RIDI).
The survey of 4,000 people found that barriers started early; with 53% of respondents stating they had first encountered problems during the application stage. A similar number (54%) reported encountering barriers at multiple stages of the recruitment process.
When asked for examples, a candidate with a hearing impairment specified telephone interviews as being a particular challenge. “I just can’t do them,” they said. “Recruiters constantly wanting to talk to me on the phone is annoying.” A respondent with a visual impairment said that being unable to drive meant that they could not even get an interview in a number of cases.
However, the statistics show an improvement since the RIDI survey in 2015, when 85% of jobseekers polled said that their disability had a negative impact when looking for work. In 2017 14% of those surveyed said their disability did not affect their job hunt at all, but in 2015 this figure stood at just 3%.
Morgan Lobb, CEO of Vercida.com, which distributed the survey on behalf of RIDI, was not surprised by the results. “The findings of this survey are reflective of what our candidates have long been telling us – that there are myriad obstacles throughout the recruitment process that they must navigate in order to secure a role,” he said. “However, it’s encouraging to see that we are making progress.”
Kate Headley, director of consulting at diversity consultancy The Clear Company and a spokesperson for RIDI, agreed that improvements have been made. “While it’s unacceptable that so many disabled jobseekers continue to find the recruitment processes challenging, these results confirm that we’re moving in the right direction,” she said. “Over the past two years I have witnessed a groundswell of awareness and understanding around disability in the workplace. This is in no small part thanks to the work that RIDI and our partners are doing in this area – but we still have further to go.
“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. Businesses that are already celebrating success in this area will be sharing their insight at the upcoming RIDI conference, where the rest of the survey’s findings will be revealed.”