27 Nov, 2012

Job accessibility

People who currently find online job hunting a challenge, and are cut off from many opportunities because they struggle to cope with websites, are to receive a huge boost. WCN, the leading UK and global e-Recruitment software supplier, is partnering with DiversityJobs, the inclusive career experts, in a move designed to make companies’ career websites more accessible.

Over 20{6060b2de664e4eaa3e7b7e86961ce2c4bbd7a29b6c1097abf8257a4e5b07383e} of the UK population require online reading support, 1 in 10 people have dyslexia to some degree, 1 in 6 is from an ethnic background, and 1 in 5 candidates have a disability – 2 million have significant sight loss. This means employers’ websites that are not accessible, are difficult for people to access which can lead to indirect discrimination for a large group of candidates.

The partnership between WCN and DiversityJobs.co.uk will help to remedy this. Through the agreement, WCN client career sites will have the option to use DiversityJobs.co.uk’s technology, ‘DiversityTalk,’ which converts web text into a clear life-like voice. Microsoft approved, DiversityTalk requires no downloads or installation, speaks over 30 languages and also enlarges the text on a website. Whether by reading aloud the text on a website, giving the visitor control over colour and font size, or saving information as an MP3 file to listen to later, it overcomes the limitations of a computer screen and makes the career websites that use it far more accessible to a greater diversity of talent.

A huge percentage of the UK population accesses jobs through WCN’s e-recruitment software. WCN’s systems include the online application forms which hundreds of thousands of people complete every year. It also provides the company careers sites where most of the UK’s biggest employers promote their job opportunities. So the addition of this feature could transform the ease with which vast numbers of people who currently struggle can access the jobs market.

Sarah Callery, Channel and Alliance Manager at WCN, elaborates:

“We already offer the highest level of accessibility required. As standard, our team builds candidate interfaces in line with the W3C AA guidelines. However the partnership with DiversityTalk.co.uk will give companies the option to go beyond this and reach people who are still cut off from many job opportunities.

“Accessibility is high on WCN’s agenda, that’s why we choose to partner with DiversityJobs. Today’s announcement means our clients now can access the tools to employ individuals from a wide range of backgrounds, ages and life experiences -creating a more diverse workforce.”

Morgan Lobb, Managing Director at DiversityJobs.co.uk explains what he thinks this could mean for companies: “We see our partnership with WCN as an important step in reducing the barriers for individuals requiring online adjustments in applying for jobs on the web. The Equality and Human Rights Commission estimates that 75{6060b2de664e4eaa3e7b7e86961ce2c4bbd7a29b6c1097abf8257a4e5b07383e} of all FTSE 100 business does not meet the basic levels of web accessibility which potentially indirectly discriminates against certain groups wishing to seek employment.”

In addition to developing DiversityTalk, the company operates the UK’s largest job board network, so it sees firsthand the problems that can arise when company’s career sites and not accessible.

Lobb continues: “DiversityJobs.co.uk works with some of the biggest companies on the planet and provides a high level of accessibility; in fact our careers site speaks to users in many languages to assist those who have English as a second language. Issues can arise when we redirect job seekers to a site that is not accessible; it can leave them lost in the recruitment process which in turn puts stress on our call centre as we have to provide manual adjustments for individuals requiring additional support. If more business used the WCN application systems we’d see a smoother and fairer processing of job seekers.”

Credit: onrec.com

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