Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

Disabled candidates don’t know which employers to trust

Ground-breaking research conducted by Enactus at UCL on behalf of Evenbreak (a social enterprise run by and for disabled people) discovered the main barriers disabled candidates face when looking for work. Over 700 responses gave compelling evidence into the real lived experiences of disabled people. The results are fascinating.

Overwhelmingly, the most significant issue for disabled candidates is finding employers that they feel confident to apply to. Over 82% of respondents said that their most pressing problem was finding truly disability-friendly employers. Comments such as, “I don’t know how to find an employer who will take me seriously” were common.

Related to this, 71% of respondents rated employers poorly when it came to empathy and understanding around 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. Candidates felt their opportunities to demonstrate their qualities and skills were limited. This included a lack of offering adjustments, relying on CVs and work experience when their opportunities had been limited, and the nature of interviews (50% said the face-to-face interview was their biggest barrier, with 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, 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, 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.