How to design accessible job roles
We know how crucial it is to attract the right talent. As well as offering remote work opportunities, designing accessible job roles is a great way of making sure that you’re reaching as wide a pool of candidates as possible.
Here are some tips on how to design an accessible job role and make your recruitment process more inclusive.
1. Provide a clear and complete company profile
When you’ve worked for a company for a few years, it’s easy to forget how unfamiliar it all seemed when you first applied.
After you’ve written your company profile, take a step back or ask an outsider to read over it. Is it complete, clear and concise? Would a stranger be able to get the gist of your business after reading it?
2. Write a clear and concise job description
Ensure that the job description clearly describes the purpose, tasks and responsibilities of the role. It should also explain how the role contributes to the overall aims of the organisation. For further guidance in this area, see our guide on Writing accessible job descriptions.
3. Adapt the job specification to suit different styles of working
Does the job role cater for different styles of working? A disabled person may carry out a task differently to someone else, but they produce the same result.
Disability can include a wide range of impairments. Here are some examples of disabilities, and how a job role could be adapted to cater for these:
Specific learning differences, such as dyslexia or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Does the role allow enough flexibility for someone to take breaks when required? Is there support in place for a dyslexic employee to rely on alternative forms of communication to text?
Mental health conditions, including anxiety, anorexia or depression.
People with these conditions may struggle in social situations. Does the role allow the flexibility to work from home some or all of the time?
Physical disabilities affecting mobility or dexterity.
Is the office space adapted for wheelchair users? Are employees required to physically come to the office, or can they work from home?
Sensory impairments such as deafness or severe sight loss.
For example, an applicant may not be able to touch type, but they may be highly skilled at using speech-to-text software. Are the job description and any training materials designed in a way that can be read by a screen reader?
Social or communication impairments, such as autism or another neurodiversity.
People with these conditions may struggle in social situations, but they may be very quick at processing complex pieces of information. Does the role allow enough autonomy to cater to their working style? Is there an expectation for employees to fit within the ‘company’s social culture’? How could this be minimised to cater to this group?
Long-term health conditions, including cancer, Crohn's disease or HIV.
Does the role allow flexible hours that can fit around hospital appointments? Is the long-term illness policy clearly explained in the job description?
4. Reconsider your essential and desirable criteria
Are your essential and desirable criteria clearly defined? Do they cater to people with disabilities? Disability is one of the 9 characteristics protected by the law. If a disabled person were refused the job but they’re able to perform some of the criteria, this could be seen as discriminatory.
5. Academic requirement
There are a number of reasons why disabled students may sometimes perform less well academically.
Applicants who have a disability or long-term health condition may not have had the opportunities to gain certain previous qualifications due to barriers they faced in the education system. However, this does not make them any less capable as employees. Reconsider the requirement for an academic qualification in the role, especially if it’s not directly related to the day-to-day duties employees would have to perform.
It’s good to consider alternative qualifications or proof of skills. Disabled applicants may have taken an alternative path outside of conventional educational routes.
If the role does genuinely require a certain level of academic qualification, then you should be specific about what this qualification should be. Make sure that you state that you will consider candidates who can demonstrate that they have, by other means, acquired the skills of which qualifications or work experience are an indicator.
6. Provide alternative ways to apply
You should provide applicants with alternative formats to apply and alternative ways in which they can get in touch with you to request this.
This could be a paper form, or over email instead of the online application form. This is a reasonable adjustment under the Equality Act 2010. You can, however, specify which format you would prefer to receive. For more information, please see What are alternative formats?
7. Accessibility statement
You can highlight your commitment to equality and diversity and make people with disabilities feel more welcome by providing an accessibility statement.
You can find an example of an accessibility statement that you can use yourself in our Common templates article.