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Don’t be a tick in the box - Be a tick outside the box

Part 1 The Applying Process

As an openly late diagnosed autistic adult female, the one thing I have always struggled with is applying for jobs.

The reason is not because I can’t do jobs, quite the contrary, in fact every single job I have gotten I have won awards, been promoted, been upskilled and gained valuable experience.

The reason I struggle is because companies make it almost inaccessible for people with disabilities, particularly neuro disabilities but I would say all disabilities.

The same companies will shout about their diversity or advertise their support for diversity. The latest trend seems to be job adverts for DE and I departments within businesses.

Now I am all for diversity but the problem is when you only have 1 pathway to apply for a job you advertise how on earth is that diverse?

Let me also share another thing with you.

Below is a description of the equality act 2010:

It is against the law to discriminate against anyone because of:

  • age

  • gender reassignment

  • being married or in a civil partnership

  • being pregnant or on maternity leave

  • disability

  • race including colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin

  • religion or belief

  • sex

  • sexual orientation

What a lot of companies like to include to show they are diverse is a little description on why they are diverse. The description is normally just the discrimination act reworded. All this does for me as a disabled person looking for a job is tell me the company follows the law. It does not in any way tell me they are promoting a diverse culture. Below are some examples I have found from recent job adverts on indeed. I have highlighted in green the parts covered by the equality act.

Company 1

Diversity, inclusion and well-being is an important part of (insert company name here)culture and values. We recruit talented people from a diverse range of backgrounds and cultures, providing equal opportunities for all to join our team regardless of age, sex, race, sexual orientation, disability, or culture.”

Company 2

We're committed to equal opportunities and welcome applications from a broad, diverse range of people who want to join our team. We're a Disability Confident Committed company so we work to provide facilities, work environment adjustments and technical solutions to be as inclusive of everyone

Company 3

“We are an equal opportunity employer and consider all qualified applicants equally without regard to race, colour, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, veteran status or disability status”

The last one, company 3 is the one I see most often. I call these companies the copy and paste brigade. It's a bit like the company that offers 20 days paid holiday in the UK as a benefit… I will leave that there for you all.

Do you know what is really telling about all 3 of those companies, none of them actually offer a different way to apply for the role if you have a disability.

So if you are dyslexic for example you would likely struggle with this way in applying because there is a lot of information on the application form and there is a lot of information written you have to submit. There is no way to bypass this.

How are companies therefore managing to recruit and create a diverse working culture if they are only giving one way for everyone to apply? How is that a fair process? 

The thing is this is the first hurdle anyone has to jump over and for people with ‘perceived difference’ or a disability the hurdle is higher and to most can’t be cleared.

So what should we do to obtain a more diverse workforce and make our hiring one a fair one?

Speaking for myself as a disabled person you should do the following:

  • Make yourself a bigger online presence. Have you thought of including a link to a tik tok or you tube or your website of someone within your company presenting the job?

  • Have you thought about including a number of the hiring manager for the person to get in touch with and ask if they could arrange some time to talk through why they are qualified instead of just sending in a cv

  • Explain the hiring process more in the advert e.g. this is a 3 stage hiring process the 1st will be…

  • Do you advertise any courses your managers have been on in the advert? E.g. All of our managers have had neurodiversity, disability and diversity training.

  • Do you give examples of reasonable adjustments you already offer in the advert?

  • State if transferable skills from prior jobs would be considered instead of experience unless it is a job you actually need qualifications for.

  • State if you have any quiet working zones in the office or allow for off site working if needed?

  • State also if you ever do walking meetings to promote creativity 

  • Do you offer mental health or duvet days to all staff?

  • Do you have on site mental health first aiders?

Think outside of the box. In 2024 I am still seeing the same worded job adverts and the exact same format of how to apply for jobs as I did 19 years ago when I first started work. 

I succeed when I get a job but getting to the interview stage has its severe challenges and in a world at the moment with job uncertainty and being forced back into the office after COVID, I fear based on what I am seeing it is disabled people or those with perceived differences that will ultimately be left behind. 



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