Hiring strategies for people with disabilities

People with disability are often overlooked in the recruitment process. HRD chats to Philip Jenkinson, senior marketing executive at Media Access Australia, for some tips on how to remove this hiring bias

Hiring strategies for people with disabilities

People with disability are often overlooked in the recruitment process. HRD chats to Philip Jenkinson, senior marketing executive at Media Access Australia, for some tips on how to remove this hiring bias

  • To what extent are companies currently hiring people with disabilities?

Overall, working aged people with disabilities currently have both lower participation (53%) and higher unemployment rates (9.4%) than people without disabilities (83% and 4.9% respectively), according to the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics data (4430.0) from 2016.

  • What are the benefits of having a diverse and inclusive workforce?

Making the recruitment process fully accessible enables employers to reach more highly qualified applicants; it reduces the possibility of disability discrimination in the hiring process, portrays a positive and inclusive organisational culture, and helps diversify the workforce.

For some employers with a strong customer focus, having a diverse workforce that reflects their customers and the broader community means that they can better understand their customers’ experience and improve service delivery. It’s also been proved to increase morale and lift productivity, and the business benefits of hiring people with disabilities are outlined in a report compiled by the Australian Network on Disability.

What’s more, a 2002 Deakin University study found that workers with disabilities are no more likely to be injured at work than other employees, and there are no differences in performance and productivity. It also identified that employees with disabilities actually have fewer scheduled absences than employees without disabilities, and assistance with the cost of making workplace adjustments is still available through the Australian Government-funded Employment Assistance Fund.

  • What can HR do to ensure their hiring strategy is not excluding people with disabilities?

The Disability Discrimination Act 1992 prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in employment, education, provision of goods and services, and other contexts. Just as importantly, having a non-accessible recruitment strategy excludes some talented individuals from being considered for a position if forms, processes and procedures are inaccessible.

So it’s important to ensure that your job ads, position descriptions, online application forms, timesheets, and mandatary policy-adhesion documents, such as a social media policy, are accessible to screen readers for those with a vision impairment (with alt text in place and a phone option), offer flexibility for deaf and hearing-impaired people (captions on videos and also options to a phone number only), and those with a cognitive disability or English as a second language (not too much jargon or complicated language).

Not-for-profit digital access advocates Media Access Australia have put together a new guide on digital accessibility in recruitment to provide practical ‘real world’ advice and tips on how to address accessibilityrelated issues in human resources management.
 

Philip Jenkinson
Senior marketing executive
MEDIA ACCESS AUSTRALIA


 

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