The tech industry moves at a lightning pace and it can often play fast and loose with the rules in order to meet its goals. There are now warning signs from analysts such as The Register that this could take on a whole new dimension as it concerns recruitment, with many top tech companies deploying state-of-the-art AI to screen applicants. Despite the sophistication of the AI, there is nevertheless clear evidence to believe that it will be biased and discriminate against people with disabilities. In order to prevent this, and to ensure that hiring meets the rigorous tests demanded in order to be truly disability inclusive, big tech must take further steps.
Avoiding contributing to discrimination
The current employment gap between disabled people and their peers is around 40%, according to Forbes. There are a host of reasons as to why this is, but a key one is discrimination and unfair application of the law. This is especially experienced by workers with short-term disability, meaning that they receive a non-work-related injury or illness that develops into a short-term yet still chronic condition. In the tech industry, the move to remote working has made such conditions easier to manage and yet they still flare up; a common cause includes musculoskeletal disorders stemming from a lower level of activity at home. Tech companies can and should protect their workers by producing fully reactive costing, and also putting support in to help them stay fighting fit at home.
It’s a tight labor market according to the New York Times, and this has opened up opportunities for disabled workers. Companies that might have found the same skills with employees that don’t need specific adjustments are now turning to a wider labor market – and for good reason. There’s no reason this shouldn’t work in reverse. Disabled employees are a huge untapped reservoir of potential, and that’s something talent-starved tech companies are in dire need of. Taking a positive approach to workplace reasonable adjustments will improve inclusivity and improve the talent at the company.
Engaging with federal initiatives
The need to get more people living with disability into the jobs market is a primary focus of the current federal administration. According to the Center for American Progress, there are a myriad of schemes that seek to provide funding, skills, and advice for businesses, in order to help them embrace disabled workers. Engaging with these funds will ensure that the business is not only business-savvy – once again, there are skills to be taken hold of – but also ready for legislative change. All in all, this will create an inclusive atmosphere – one that should exist by necessity.
The equipment and frameworks are there for businesses to start treating disabled workers fairly. For digital businesses, as tech firms tend to be, it can be even easier, through remote working adaptations and reasonable adjustments. The reality can be far from that, however, and so it’s important that businesses get on board.