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Barriers To Employment: What Are They And How To Address Them

Break through

Graduate Recruiter’s Disability Café 13 (GR’13)
Hosted by Citi

> view the executive summary

In 2013, 10% of graduates had a disability; yet a shockingly low number are successful in their applications to graduate jobs. Something somewhere is preventing them from being successful. But what is it?

On 11th June 2014, over 40 recruiters, careers advisers, disabled students and other stakeholders came together to consider what these barriers are and how they can be addressed in order to enable future progress in this area.

Helen Cooke, Director of My Plus Consulting opened the event by saying that there are many ways to consider this issue and one of those has to be from the student’s perspective. In preparation for this Disability Café, Helen had therefore surveyed a group of disabled students and recent graduates and asked them:

What do you consider to be the main barriers to employment for disabled graduates?

The barriers had been collated into 12 areas which Helen presented to the delegates in groups of 4. Following each presentation, the delegates had the opportunity to discuss what they had heard in small groups and to seek clarification from the disabled students who were present.

Once the delegates had heard and discussed all 12 barriers they were asked to individually rank them according to what they saw as the priorities. The top 3 priorities were:

  • Disclosure
  • The recruitment process
  • Employers not publicizing what they do

The students present were separately asked to prioritise the barriers and their top 3 were:

  • Inflexible working conditions
  • The recruitment process
  • Employer’s lack of understanding of disability

Following a tea break, the delegates had the opportunity to discuss the 3 priorities they had highlighted and to identify how these can be addressed, and indeed removed. Every 15 minutes the delegates were asked to move onto different tables to continue their discussions in order that they heard different views and perspectives.

The solutions emerging from the discussions included:

  • Employers to better publicize what they do to support disabled applicants and employees.
  • To actively encourage applicants to be open about their disability and advise them on how they may do this.
  • To challenge their recruitment process with the aim of it screening people ‘in’ rather than ‘out’.

The students also fed back on the barriers over which they had control; this included taking the opportunity to speak to employers in order to be properly prepared for the interview process and to help them understand what support they may require.

The Café closed with a drinks reception; this provided the opportunity for discussions to continue and for delegates to network and identify those they may wish to liaise with going forward.

Thank you to Citi who kindly hosted our 13th Graduate Recruiter’s Disability Café.