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PageGroup CEO Calls on Businesses to Remove Disability Employment Barriers

PageGroup CEO Calls on Businesses to Remove Disability Employment Barriers

FTSE 250 recruitment company, PageGroup, is calling on the industry to do more to support people with disabilities get into work. This rallying cry – led by CEO, Steve Ingham CBE, comes following a survey of over 1,000 UK business leaders which highlighted that almost three quarters (74%) feel that there are barriers to hiring people with disabilities in their organisation.

In a market where there are currently more vacancies than there are job hunters, these businesses are overlooking talented and skilled people with disabilities, including those who are neurodivergent, by closing the door on them at the very first step in the process.

To encourage businesses to improve and diversify their hiring practices, PageGroup has brought together key charities, social enterprises and changemakers in this space to launch a set of free resources designed to foster accessibility in recruitment across all industries, specifically for people with visual impairments, learning disabilities, and the neurodiverse.  

In creating these resources, PageGroup has partnered with cloud-based web accessibility experts Recite Me, and worked closely with Leonard Cheshire, Genius Within, and Vision Foundation to identify simple yet meaningful solutions to help open up the jobs market and remove initial barriers to employment for those with disabilities.

With just a quarter (27%) of business leaders in the UK saying their organisation uses assistive technology to improve the hiring experience for people with disabilities, for example tailoring adverts for people with visual impairments or adopting ‘text to speech’ apps, there is a clear need for greater focus on inclusion at all stages of the recruitment process.

To offer greater accessibility to opportunities, PageGroup has installed Recite Me’s website plugin software across its sites to increase access for candidates applying for roles.

Today, job seekers can see the toolbar in action in eight markets on Michael Page and Page Personnel websites, and expect to see it continue to roll out across their sites globally in the coming months. The Recite Me toolbar is a website extension designed to offer users with visual impairments, learning disabilities and neurodiverse abilities a truly inclusive online experience with a range of customisation options to ensure accessibility.  These include screen reading, line-by-line tracking, distraction elimination, text zooming, and colour correction on pages to assist users with a variety of disabilities. Users can design an online experience to best suit their needs, helping every candidate to kick off their job search in the best way. As most job searches begin online, these adaptations are a radical improvement for job seekers included in the approximately one billion web users with dyslexia, visual impairments, autism, ADHD, epilepsy, and hyperlexia.

PageGroup’s CEO, Steve Ingham, said:

“For the past 12 months we’ve seen job vacancies skyrocket, with many suggesting that the market is ‘candidate short’. But the fact of the matter is that there are hundreds of thousands of disabled or neurodiverse candidates who are unable to access roles due to inaccessible recruitment processes.

“At PageGroup, we are determined to create change. Whether that’s the industry leading work our award-winning DE&I team do internally, or the support we give our clients through our DE&I Client Solutions team, or our new accessibility resources for businesses across the country – this is a priority that runs through the very core of our business.” 

“Accessibility in the recruitment process is crucial, but that’s just the first step for businesses – it’s important to remember that it doesn’t just end there. Whether it’s introducing technology, making offices wheelchair accessible or designing layouts that create spaces for everyone to thrive, businesses must realise that they can never be truly done, only constantly striving to do better.”

Ross Linnett, CEO at Recite Me said:

“We are proud to be partnering with PageGroup to deliver resources for businesses that will open up the conversation around inclusion and accessibility in hiring. We have also been working with PageGroup to integrate our website accessibility software across its websites. An important milestone, as visiting a webpage is often the first step of a job seekers’ journey, yet inaccessible websites mean many candidates face barriers at the first hurdle. We’re excited to be helping to open opportunities for those who have previously been excluded from the job market because of inaccessible technology.”

The resources are designed for business leaders and hiring managers, with the advice relevant for workers at all levels across all sectors. The only way to instigate positive change and remove employment barriers for those with disabilities is to take meaningful action. Businesses can learn more and access the resources here.

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