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Job applicants with a disability at a disadvantage

‘To whom it may concern’.

I have written the above line to potential employers applying for a position countless times. I always mentioned in my applications that I have a disability. I rarely received the courtesy of a reply.

I often wonder whether this was due to the fact that I have a disability.

Whether they know it or not, employers are discriminating against job applicants who disclose they have a disability on their applications.

The article by May Bulman shows how job applicants with a disability are being discriminated against in the U.K., Bulman writes that research shows that people with disability have to apply for 60% more jobs than applicants without a disability.  Bulman wrote about a woman Lauren Pitt, 24, who has a vision disability and struggled to obtain employment. She was a university graduate with high marks. She didn’t expect finding a job would be as difficulty. It took her nine months to gain work. This was after she applied for 250 positions which led to only a few interviews.

This is similar to my situation.

When I graduated from uni I applied for multitudes of jobs over the course of a few years. From the many job applications I only had two call-backs for an interview. I sought professional help in writing my applications. I believed I had the essential requirements for the job. When I applied for countless positions without receiving a response, I was extremely despondent. I felt like an utter failure.

I had yet to discover that many people with disability have the same experience.

A Journalist Ashitha Nagesh writes of another case in the U.K., where university graduate Daryl Jones applied for 400 job vacancies receiving no response. When he took out all references of his disability off his CV, he was soon contacted to attended job interviews.

Mathew Townsend, a man from Brisbane with a hearing disability, who struggles to find work. He is equipped with two university degrees. He has completed an internship with Telstra and has presented papers at three conferences. One would assume from his credentials he would be an excellent employee. However he cannot obtain employment after applying for many positions.

Read the article here

Disabled people have to apply for 60% more jobs than non-disabled people before finding one

Disabled people need to apply for 60 per cent more jobs than non-disabled jobseekers before they find work, new research shows. An Opinium survey of 2,000 disabled people also found that more than half (51 per cent) of applications from disabled people result in an interview, compared with 69 per cent for non-disabled applicants.

Research shows the cases above aren’t isolated.

Researchers at the National Bureau of Economic Research  USA wanted to determine how people’s disability affects their chances of being considered for employment. The researchers submitted 6,016 false applications to positions at accounting firms. One third of the applicants mentioned having Asperger’s Syndrome, another third disclosed a spinal cord injury in their applications.  The remaining third of applicants did not disclose any disability. The results showed applicants without disabilities were 26% more likely to get an expression of interest from an employer than the applicants who disclosed a disability.

Jean-François Ravaud, Béatrice Madiot and Isabelle Ville conducted a similar study to determine whether job applicants with a disability were disadvantaged. Some applicants claimed to have a disability while others didn’t. The study found that the candidates without a disability were more likely to receive a favorable response than those with a disability.

Research conducted by Vision Australia found that 53% of the job-seekers who are blind or have low vision will give up looking for employment because they are too disheartened.

One of the main reasons why candidates with a disability are unsuccessful is due to an employer’s attitudes toward people with disability.

The situation may appear bleak for job applicants with a disability. However, I strongly believe there are actions to be taken to improve it.

We need to educate employers so when they see the term disability on a job application, they will not be instilled with fear. On the contrary when they see an suitable applicant who has a disability they will think potential.

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