Banishing Barriers: Building Disability Awareness into Recruiting

People with disabilities are the largest minority group in the world, at about one billion people and 15% of the global population. The disability community has often struggled with unemployment and finding good jobs due to bias and a lack of awareness among employers — but the tide appears to be turning.

Hiring is up across the board in today’s tight labour market, which includes groups who were overlooked in the past. This helps those on both sides of the hiring equation: more job seekers with disabilities are getting hired, and employers benefit from a promising talent pool.

However, there’s still lots of room for improvement. People with a disability have both lower labour force participation (53.4%) and higher unemployment rates (10.3%) than people without a disability (84.1% and 4.6% respectively). October 3 is International Day of People With a Disability so it’s a good time for employers and recruiters not only to reflect on what they can do to reduce bias and increase opportunities, but also to take action. By building disability awareness into recruiting, your company can make a commitment to accessibility and make inclusion part of its culture — and attract, hire and retain more of these workers in the process.


Diversity includes disability
The disability community is incredibly diverse, encompassing people with a wide variety of diagnoses — including physical disabilities, learning disabilities, blindness, autism, deafness, anxiety and chronic pain. Since many of these are “invisible” conditions, disability is much more common than it might appear. It is often impossible to tell if a person has a disability simply by looking at them. What’s more, many of us could experience a disability at some point in our lives — whether short-term or permanent.

There are over 2 million working-age adults with disabilities in Australia today, making this a huge talent pool. To attract these job seekers, first ensure that your company meets — or exceeds — accessibility standards. With this baseline in place, you can reference it in your company’s job descriptions to demonstrate your commitment to inclusion. This helps ensure that practices, procedures and work sites are accessible to all current and potential hires.

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