Diverse Workforce Enabler@Langhambuilding holistic workforce solutions through disruptive technology, industry expertise, and collaboration.
I have been observing with interest the aftermath of the pandemic related to the disabled employment space. Covid-19 has caused many layoffs and career uncertainty, with workers with disabilities bearing the brunt of the pandemic-induced job losses and furloughs.
While the past two and a half years have wreaked havoc on the lives and lives of nearly everyone, regardless of their diversity and identity attributes, people with disabilities in particular have experienced many unexpected changes in their daily lives and environments. had to deal with changes in Change and turmoil are difficult for everyone.
Workers with disabilities need somewhat more support than other workers to return to structured work environments in which they are most comfortable and are at their best in terms of creativity, productivity and engagement. It’s not that hard to guess.
However, employment rates for people with disabilities are significantly higher than in recent years, including in the pre-pandemic period. According to a recent report by the Kessler Foundation, citing BLS data, the employment-to-population ratio of people with disabilities (which measures the number of people working within a given population) will increase from 31.5% in August 2021 to 31.5% in 2022. It was revealed that it reached 34.6% in August. Employment growth is very encouraging.
What factors contributed to the high employment rate of people with disabilities?
Pausing at staggering numbers invites you to delve deeper into the dynamics of different working models and environments that seem to have been around for a very long time.
1. Expansion of remote work
The surge in remote work during the pandemic has prevented employers from ignoring people who previously struggled to find on-site direct employment due to their disability.
Oddly enough, the pandemic has been a beacon of hope for neurodiverse workers and talent with disabilities. It has leveled the playing field for all, allowing traditionally marginalized people to make their presence felt and their worth to the world. are looking for remote and hybrid work opportunities and other accommodations.
2. Unbalanced Market
A talent shortage is another factor that is likely helping people with disabilities find employment in a market characterized by rapidly shifting supply and demand balances.
A recent McKinsey & Co report provides an interesting picture of the state of the job market. The report, citing the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, says that in December 2021, more than 4.3 million people left their jobs voluntarily. The same report also reveals that the number of job openings (10.9 million) far exceeds the number of new hires (6.3 million). .
Such a volatile job market needs problem solvers and original thinkers. Not surprisingly, individuals with autism, neurodiverseness, and disabilities can fill this void.
What is the future of disability employment?
I am certainly optimistic about the future of disability employment. Despite a booming job market, employers are struggling to fill vacant positions due to talent shortages. However, they are now experiencing first-hand the many unique skills and abilities that workers with neurodivergence and disabilities bring to the workplace.
Most companies in the United States and around the world have already demonstrated a strong commitment to hiring people with disabilities by adjusting their interviewing and hiring practices.
Interview process best practices
Let’s take a look at some best practices your organization can adopt during the interview and later stages.
before the interview
As an adaptation, companies should consider allowing candidates with autism, neurodiversity, and disabilities to pre-verify interview questions. If candidates reveal they have autism or neurodiversity, consider giving them a choice between an in-person interview and an online interview.
Avoid panel interviews. For in-person interviews, offer candidates the option to visit the interview location in advance. This will help you overcome your anxiety about your new surroundings.
Eliminate as many surprises as possible before, during, and after the interview. Start your interview on time, as waiting indefinitely can be stressful for someone with autism or neurodiverseness. If possible, conduct the interview in a quiet area of your office. This helps minimize external stimuli like noise for the candidate.
Allow potential backers to assist and/or accompany candidates. This may help them feel safe and open up. If a candidate requests permission to use earplugs to drown out noise, encourage them. Remember, in the world of neurodiversity, lack of eye contact is not a sign of disrespect or unprofessional behavior.
Don’t start the interview with something like, “Tell me about yourself.” We encourage you to ask open-ended, non-hypothetical questions. Ask questions that don’t require candidates to tell a story unless telling a story is part of their job.
Provide clear and definitive answers to questions about accommodation and flexible working arrangements. Companies that attract top talent with neurodiversity and disabilities are inclusive by their selection and deliberation, and they make that clear at the beginning of every interview. please.
Some candidates with autism or neurodiverse may take a little longer to answer questions. It doesn’t mean they are unprepared or poorly equipped. It’s just that their brains tend to process information differently. Give them the time they need.
Try to speak calmly and avoid exaggerated facial expressions and gestures. As a general rule, make candidates feel comfortable by reducing their anxiety.
After the interview
Recognize that the interview and hiring process is often the biggest barrier to employment, not competence, for people with autism and neurodiverse. Please understand that neurodiversity is a biological fact, not a political position or philosophical argument.
In conclusion, rather than selecting based on a biased worldview of disability, focus on selecting people for their skills and abilities and how they can contribute to the organization.
The Forbes Human Resources Council is an invitation-only organization for HR executives in all industries. am i eligible?