Over 82% of disabled candidates believe their main barrier to employment is finding truly disability-friendly employers, says new research.
Comments such as, “I don’t know how to find an employer who will take me seriously” were common, according to the research by Enactus at UCL for Evenbreak.
Barriers to work
The study looked into the lived experience of 700 disabled candidates. Employers were rated poorly by 71% of disabled candidates when it came to their empathy and understanding of disability.
The second biggest barrier was a lack of confidence in the recruitment process. This included a fear of the process being biased or discriminatory throughout.
Disabled candidates felt their opportunities to demonstrate their qualities and skills were few, as businesses failed to offer adjustments and relied too heavily on CVs and work experience.
Poorly designed interviews
Disabled candidates also found the interview process a challenge, with 50% expressing that the face-to-face interview was their biggest barrier, and 75% saying an obvious lack of interest from interviewers happened regularly.
A lack of confidence in their own abilities appeared to be the third biggest barrier for disabled candidates, including how employers might perceive them. One respondent said, “second-guessing myself means I often start applications but get too scared to submit them”.
Jane Hatton, Director of Evenbreak, a social enterprise run by and for disabled people, said, “It seems that confidence is a huge issue for disabled job seekers – lack of confidence in employers, in the recruitment process and in themselves.
“The good news is that the first two can be addressed by employers. By becoming, and being seen as, inclusive employers of choice, employers will be able to attract and retain many more talented disabled people. Which in turn helps build the confidence of others. Employers can be confident that Evenbreak will help them on that journey.”
The research was launched at an event at Wellcome in London on 23rd January.