1 in 4 deaf people face job discrimination
Published: Aug 23rd, 2016
A worrying 1 in 4 deaf people have been forced quit their jobs because of discrimination in the workplace, according to a new survey from Total Jobs. This means that although developments in technology have made it easier to be deaf in the workplace, there is still a huge lack of understanding of deaf culture in modern businesses, and the quality of life of thousands of people with hearing loss is suffering as a result.
In total, 56% of people who completed the survey said they have experienced discrimination in the workplace due to being deaf or hard of hearing. This discrimination is mostly likely to come from colleagues (62%) and managers (53%), but 37% of people said they faced discrimination as early as the job interview stage.
Furthermore, while the majority of deaf and HoH job seekers (74%) are confident they have the right skills and qualities to find good jobs, almost the same number (72%) feel unsupported and full of frustration when it comes to looking for a job.
For deaf and HoH people who have been fortunate to secure jobs, nearly half (47%) have admitted that they do not receive adequate support, resources and guidance from their employer in the workplace.
At Deaf Unity we’re well aware of the barriers deaf people face when it comes to finding employment and being supported in the workplace, and this is why we’re holding the Deaf and Disabilities Careers Fair in September. This one-of-a-kind event follows in the footsteps of the hugely successful Deaf Careers Fair 2014, and is designed to allow deaf and disabled job seekers to meet with equal opportunity employers, to talk about their career goals and get their skills recognised – all in a completely accessible environment. CV writing and interviewing tips workshops will also be held, along with inspiring talks from deaf and disabled entrepreneurs who have succeeded in the world of work.
Whilst the careers fair is a step in the right direction, overcoming the challenges deaf and HoH people face in the workplace is not going to be easy. There’s a great lack of understanding across UK businesses about deaf culture and how to support people with hearing loss in the workplace. This can make applying for jobs and attending interviews incredibly difficult – both of which are stressful anyway, let alone adding hearing loss into the mix.
In the workplace itself, there are constant hurdles to overcome, such as communicating with employees who fail to recognise or accommodate the needs of deaf and HoH employees. And let’s not even get started on other activities, such as using the phone, taking part in meetings, keeping up with office chit chat and having to take time off work to attend hospital appointments and hearing aid clinics. Even employees who make it very clear early on that they are deaf or HoH still struggle to make their employer and colleagues understand and provide the level of support they require.
Ultimately, organisations that are not inclusive and do not consider employing and supporting a diverse workforce, are missing out. There is so much talent and insight among deaf and disabled people, and businesses today could benefit hugely from including them in their teams and giving them the necessary tools and respect they require to work to their full potential. Equal opportunity employers such as Ernst & Young and Avon & Somerset Police are prime examples of organisations that recognise the advantages of having individuals of all abilities and backgrounds in their workforce. Both will be attending the Deaf and Disabilities Careers Fair.
So if you’ve experienced first hand the difficulties of finding work and lac of support in the workplace because of your disability, come along to the Deaf and Disabilities Careers Fair. It’s your chance to find out how you can get the support you need to get your foot on the career ladder and connect with leading organisations who are specifically looking for people like you to make their workforce more diverse and talented.
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