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How universal accessibility promotes employment opportunities

Posted by: Laura Clark
on 16, Feb 2022
from United Kingdom

In our last post, we talked about accessibility as it relates to education. In this post, we’re moving into the next step of the employment cycle – getting a job.

More and more companies and organisations advertise career opportunities and current openings online, whether through platforms like LinkedIn, recruitment agencies or on their own websites. For people with disabilities, like sight loss, accessing digital job applications can be very difficult if the platforms and forms have not been made accessible.

Combined with employers being worried about hiring a disabled person we create a perfect storm in the jobs market, resulting in a disproportionate number of disabled people being unemployed. The Office of National Statistics states that the employment rate for people who are not disabled is 81.1%, whereas for disabled people of working age it is just 52.3%.

Employment and Disabilities

Additionally, a Labour Force survey conducted from October 2020-September 2021, claims people with disabilities in the UK are twice as likely to be unemployed than those without. This is despite the same survey concluding that the number of job vacancies has continued to rise by 388,000 since the spring of 2020.

There are people out there wanting to work, and there is a huge amount of vacancies. So why is there a disparity between people with disabilities and those without?

Not only does inaccessible content create barriers for your customers but it can also discourage potential employees from applying for job opportunities. It’s easy for somebody with a disability to lose all hope of employment when they are repeatedly faced with such obstacles.

Furthermore, 10% of the population identify as having a print disability, so failing to provide accessible job listings and applications automatically reduces your pool of potential candidates This creates inequitable employment options for people with disabilities and can mean that you never even get to speak with the very best person for the job.

Did you know, in the UK, Access to Work can provide financial help towards the cost of assistive technology for a team member with a disability? However, please ensure that you have a conversation to be certain that your own systems will work with the technology. Speak with the provider and your (potential) employee and you will find something that works for everyone.

By preparing your organisation now, all your applicants will be in a better position to succeed from the start as accessibility is often just a better design, and better design works for everyone.

Let’s face it, recruiting and training someone to join your company is an investment in both money and time – so you want the best person, and you want that person to succeed. And remember, best practices don’t just apply during the recruitment stage, but throughout your employee's career with you. How would you feel if a highly valued team member decides they have no other option than resign because they are facing a new disability due to an accident or illness?

How AbleDocs Can Help

AbleDocs can help businesses and organisations generate accessible digital content, including job postings, policies and contracts as well as advice on software accessibility through our suite of products and services. We help companies incorporate principles of design equity into their digital content, making it easier for everyone to engage with that content.

AbleDocs provides the tools to educate employers on the benefits of hiring people with disabilities.  You wouldn’t intentionally discriminate, but through a lack of knowledge or understanding, discrimination can occur. People with disabilities are beneficial to the workplace. Having a more diverse workforce raises awareness of how different people interact with information, and where appropriate, employees can assist with user testing and promoting inclusion. If you’d like to learn more about how AbleDocs can help your organisation, we’d be more than happy to book a Lunch & Learn where you can talk with members of our team about how to proceed with your digital accessibility journey.  For information on Lunch & Learn please reach out to Laura Clark by email at lclark@abledocs.com.

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Since its founding in 2019, AbleDocs has become a world leader in digital accessibility with offices in nine countries. AbleDocs offers products and services to organizations that help to ensure high volume document accessibility compliance, document accessibility testing, accessibility training, and web accessibility compliance.

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