As the UK celebrated National Inclusion Week, Evenbreak, the world’s first global disability job board run by and for disabled people, spoke to its team and discussed the hidden barriers that every disabled candidate has to overcome.
Each and every disability is different and comes with different challenges, so Evenbreak has put together five consistent issues that able people wouldn’t think twice about to highlight the added pressures and challenges that disabled candidates face on a daily basis.
1 – To Disclose Or Not To Disclose – This conundrum came up consistently. There was a general acknowledgement that candidates felt the recruiter would be put off from putting you forward if they knew you were disabled. So at what point in the job application or once started (if ever); and worried what people will think and / or assume once you have and the likely negative consequences, such as can’t do the job as well as others who are ‘non disabled’ or getting special treatment (which isn’t the case). From a YouGov poll we did with 3000 candidates, we found that 23% felt that mentioning their disability would put them at a disadvantage, 24% said a lack of self-confidence and 18% said they did not face any barriers to work at all.
2 – Presumptions and Preconceptions – Often people living with a disability are not spoken to as individuals about their needs and any challenges, a lot of things are presumed or preconceived. This may come from a place of fear from the employer for asking the wrong question, but it can do real harm to the candidate. These presumptions about what a disabled candidate is capable of, plus the unhelpful questions that come out of that can be extremely damaging to a person’s professional confidence. There are far more benefits to employing somebody living with a disability and employers need to understand this. Problem solving, creativity and exceptional project management skills to name just three.
The government this week (26th September 2023) has launched a campaign that should help such candidates. Titled “Ask, Don’t Assume” which aims to raise awareness of the everyday assumptions faced by disabled people and offers practical guidance for allies who are keen to do the right thing.
3 – Each Stage Of The Process Has Issues For Different People – Clearly every disability is unique, so each stage of the traditional recruitment process can be hugely challenging for individuals. Candidates with hearing problems will naturally struggle with telephone interviews for example, so employers need to be flexible about their processes so they don’t cause unnecessary anxiety for disabled candidates.
4 – The Added Time And Energy – Able bodied candidates don’t ever have to think about the added time and energy that not only goes into an interview, but also the role itself. Navigating the world of work with all of its complexities as a disabled person can be hugely daunting and there are so many obstacles and potential barriers, it can be difficult to overcome.
5 – One Size Does Not Fit All – The lack of awareness of a condition or disability and then making assumptions that are most often incorrect. Employers can be naive and lack the understanding that people can have varying levels of disability and therefore need in a workplace and one size does not fit all.
If you’re a disabled candidate looking for work or you are an employer that needs educating on the best ways to attract and retain disabled candidates, visit the Evenbreak website for more advice.