In Q3 2020 Ability Focus conducted a review of equality statements in Irish job advertisements across the public, semi-state, non-profit and private sectors. This review analysed 550 job posts by employers advertising in the Republic of Ireland, focusing on both large urban centres with high population density and smaller urban centres across the country.
The purpose of the review was to see how many employers included equality statements as part of their job posts. We scanned job posts, initially looking for the standard equality statement; 'We are an equal opportunity employer'. However, our primary focus was on assessing how many employers offered interview accommodations in their job posts to job seekers with disabilities. Here we looked for content similar in format to the following: 'If you need accommodations to interview please let us know and we would be happy to assist'.
The initial results from our survey in late 2020 indicated a complete apathy from Irish businesses towards disability inclusive advertising in Irish job posts.
In this 2020 review we found the following key points:
* In the private sector only 3.5% of businesses documented an openness to offering reasonable accommodations to job seekers with disabilities.
* In the non-profit and semi-state sectors 58% of employers didn't include even the basic 'We are an equal opportunity employer' statement at the end of their job advertisement.
* Out of 100 recruitment agency job posts, not a single recruitment agency in Ireland included even the most basic equality statement in any job advertisement. This figure of 100 recruitment agencies included many of the most progressive recruitment agencies in Ireland.
Following on from this initial review of 550 employers in 2020, on Thursday 5th and Friday 6th January 2023, Ability Focus conducted a second snap analysis. This time we focused solely on 75 recruitment agencies and one job post from each agency was randomly selected for review. The full review of all 75 recruitment agencies was conducted on one leading jobs board.
Here are the two key takeaways from our review:
* Having reviewed 75 separate staffing/recruitment agencies across four different business sectors; legal, tech, finance and retail, not a single job post noted even the most basic 'We are an equal opportunity provider' or (more importantly from the client's perspective) 'Our client is an equal opportunity employer and welcomes applicants from all backgrounds'.
* Of the 75 agencies reviewed, no recruitment agency offered accommodations for candidates to interview; 'If you need accommodations to meet with us, or interview with our client please let us know and we would be happy to assist'
The recruitment sector, as the initial point of contact for huge numbers of job seekers looking to make their next career move is in the hugely privileged position of creating opportunity. This opportunity refers not only to opportunity for job seekers, but for the businesses who could hire them. By not including meaningful and empathetic equality statements in job posts, then many talented job seekers will continue to feel disabled by a recruitment process which isn't truly inclusive.
We acknowledge that an equality statement is only one part of an inclusive recruitment process. But it is an essential part and a key opportunity for a business or staffing agency to show that your business is inclusive, that you welcome applicants from diverse backgrounds and that you understand a diversified jobs pool is a deeper one. It is a positive signal sent out to a disabled job seeker.
In Ireland discrimination is rarely premeditated, but that's not to say it doesn't happen. We live in a society where there are multiple barriers to inclusion, both socially and professionally and the main disabling factor in the lives of people with impairments is a society, business or recruitment process which doesn't include them.
At Ability Focus we believe this is opportunity lost. It is opportunity lost for talented, resilient, loyal and hard-working job seekers with disabilities. But it is also opportunity lost for the businesses who could hire them. Businesses are potentially losing out on talent, insights and creativity through a recruitment process which doesn't seem to be fully inclusive.
A job post which is advertised by a business or recruitment agency that demonstrates inclusivity through a well written and empathetic equality statement, including an openness to offering reasonable accommodations is one which is more effective is sourcing for the best talent. It is a job which truly scans the full talent pool, welcoming those applicants with different skill sets and diversified attributes.
We would encourage every business and recruitment agency to always have a well written and empathetic equality statement in each job post. If done well, this statement will be the first step in an inclusive recruitment process which could benefit both the employer as well as the job seeker.
If you are considering Disability Awareness Training for your organisation, please get in touch with Ability Focus by calling (01) 699 1150 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to discuss a customised programme to suit your disability training needs.
Ability Focus is the leading provider of disability awareness training in Ireland. Our training programmes are CPD accredited, IITD Endorsed and delivered by qualified trainers with over seventeen years' experience working in disability inclusion.