Warning, this episode might make you angry! The pandemic disproportionately affected disabled people – 60% of people who died of COVID were disabled in some way. Whilst this statistic is outside our control, inclusion is within our control. But disability is often at the bottom of the agenda when it comes to equality. So today, on International Day of Disabled Persons 2021, we’re talking to the brilliant Jane Hatton of Evenbreak about difficulties faced by disabled job seekers. We were surprised by how institutionalised the issues are and how easily they could be overcome.
Some of the many important takeaways from our chat are:
- Disabled people certainly aren’t charity cases! We urgently need to change the narrative;
- 80% of disabled job seekers say their biggest barrier is knowing which employers will take them seriously;
- Recruitment processes themselves often create difficulties for disabled people, but could easily be adjusted;
- Like anyone else, disabled people don’t apply for jobs that they can’t do – as Jane says “you wouldn’t get a blind person applying to be a forklift driver!”
- Platitudes such as stating “we are an equal opportunity employer” are inadequate unless backed by tangible action.
There are 14.1 million disabled people in the UK, and 19% of working age adults are disabled – that’s a lot of talent that employers are unwittingly missing out on. Just a little bit of thought and consideration by recruiters and employers can unlock this potential and bring huge benefits to everyone.
Making assumptions is wrong. Things like “Oh we can’t employ disabled people as we don’t have any ramps” just show a lack of understanding.
Listen to this brilliant episode and prepare to have your eyes opened to the institutional unfairness faced by disabled people. Whilst it isn’t deliberate discrimination, it certainly is not okay.
About Jane Hatton and Evenbreak
Jane knew that employers struggled to attract disabled candidates, and that disabled candidates couldn’t tell which employers were inclusive, so she decided to connect the two! Jane created an exciting award-winning social enterprise called Evenbreak which is run by and for disabled people. The employers who advertise on Evenbreak are actively aiming to attract disabled candidates and the registered candidates want to work for inclusive companies. In addition, Evenbreak supports disabled candidates through their Career Hive which provides specific and relevant advice and guidance from careers professionals with lived experience of disability.