Up to 85% of disabled people say their condition impacts on their chances of finding a job, according to new research.
Research from the Recruitment Industry Disability Initiative (RIDI) also found that more than half of disabled people (56%) experience difficulties in applying for jobs, while only 3% said their disability had no effect on job-hunting.
Over 300 disabled jobseekers with a variety of disabilities and long-term health conditions were surveyed by RIDI, in conjunction with Diversityjobs.co.uk and Evenbreak.
Almost 47% considered themselves to have a mobility impairment, 10% had a visual impairment, 13% identified themselves as having a learning disability and 23% said they had a mental health condition.
The results of the survey show that disabled people have significant hurdles to overcome in securing employment.
One of the respondents to the survey said: “Many jobs I have been to seem to require a full driving licence. Due to the nature of my health condition and poor joints I am unable to drive so do not hold one.
“I have been refused interviews because of this despite my husband being able to drive and we have a blue disabled parking badge.”
Another added: “When an agency contacts me asking for my phone number after reading my CV, I explain to them that I cannot use the telephone and suggest corresponding via emails. Silence. No more response.”
A number of the respondents found interviews challenging, with 57% admitting that the fear of meeting a prospective employer impacted on their chances of finding a job.
One person claimed an employer only offered them an interview “because you ticked a disability box”.
A second respondent said: “Once I go into interview the first thing they notice is my age and then my Bell’s palsy then the rest of the interview is pointless”.
Other findings from the survey include:
- 23% found difficulties with telephone interviews.
- 32% struggled to complete on-line assessments.
- 29% cited problems in travelling to interviews.
- 18% said group exercises impacted their job hunt.
- 15% said making presentations were difficult.
- 15% cited role-play as a barrier to employment.
- 11% said psychometric testing.
Kate Headley, Director of Consulting at diversity consultancy The Clear Company and spokesperson for RIDI said: “Sadly, it’s unsurprising that many disabled candidates find the recruitment processes challenging.
“Many recruiters and employers – most often unintentionally – are still using outdated processes, which are a disadvantage to those with both physical and non-visible impairments.
“In order to tap into disabled talent pools, employers and recruiters must get back to basics and review each stage of the recruitment process – from application stage to on-boarding – to ensure that they are accessible and equitable for all. If they fail to do so, the best person for the job may never even apply for the role – let alone make it to interview.”
Morgan Lobb CEO and Founder at DiversityJobs.co.uk, which distributed the survey on behalf of RIDI, commented: “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.
“The application stage in particular can be a barrier for jobseekers who do not fit all the criteria deemed ‘essential’ – such as holding a full UK driving licence.
“The employers that we work with understand that small changes in the way they communicate with disabled candidates can make a big difference to accessibility”.
Jane Hatton, Director at specialist job board Evenbreak, which also distributed the survey, said: “As the only not-for-profit job board run by disabled people for disabled people in the UK, we understand that interviews in particular can be a daunting prospect for candidates who consider themselves to have a disability.
“As this research has highlighted, some interviewers can make jobseekers feel less than confident when meeting. This is largely due to a lack of awareness and experience of dealing with disability, but the tide is beginning to change.
“It’s encouraging to see that many employers, such as those that we work with, are taking steps to become more confident in engaging with disabled talent. And I have no doubt that those that do will reap the benefits.”
The government is considering reducing monies received by sick and disabled claimants in the Work Related Activity Group of Employment and Support Allowance, to bring it more in-line with Jobseeker’s Allowance. Campaigners claim the move will make it more difficult for these people to prepare for work.