Analysis from Inclusion & Accessibility Labs (IA Labs) and the National Council for the Blind of Ireland (NCBI) has shown that nearly nine out of every ten job search sites are not digitally accessible – meaning that any individual with a disability would likely struggle to interact with the website, and engage with even its most basic functions. Such functions include applying for a job, navigating the scope of a webpage or searching for relevant employment opportunities.
Commissioned by the NCBI and prepared by IA Labs, the Irish Digital Employment Audit (IDEA) assessed Ireland’s leading job recruitment websites, performing a manual accessibility audit that used Google Lighthouse as its control. The report evaluated the employment websites according to a number of criteria, including whether the website published an accessibility statement. In addition, the Irish Digital Employment Audit provided an analysis of the critical user journey, taking account of navigation menus, interactive elements, tables, online forms and the colour contrast of images and text.
That 200,000 people who living with a disability but keen to work, could be missing out on job opportunities will be of particular frustration to businesses throughout Ireland, many of whom are grappling with acute shortages of staff, and persistent difficulties in recruiting and retaining talent.
Public sector websites are required to meet specific digital accessibility standards under the Web Accessibility Directive laid down by the European Commission and transposed into Irish law in 2020. Though there are currently no such mandates currently imposed on non-public sector websites, the adoption of the European Accessibility Act (EEA) will require private sector service providers to make their websites and mobile devices easily accessible. This is the first time that technical standards for private sector websites have been adopted under the EAA; and IA Labs contends that private companies should put themselves ahead of the curve, in advance of forthcoming legislation.
Co- Founder and Director of IA Labs, Kyran O’Mahoney said: “The findings issued today as part of the Irish Digital Employment Audit demonstrate the tangible barriers that people with disabilities face when trying to carry out basic tasks; such as searching or applying for a job. Diversity of experience and ability can be a powerful tool for any business – as time and time again, research shows that companies with an inclusive ethos tend to experience both increased profits and improved productivity.
The Irish Digital Employment Audit is particularly pertinent given the ongoing ‘War for Talent’, and in light of the fact that businesses throughout the country are struggling to recruit staff. Yet despite this, we have up to 200,000 people – most of whom are keen to participate in the labour market – who are prevented from seeking employment owing to the fact that the overwhelming majority of job search sites are inaccessible. Forthcoming legislation will require these websites to become digitally accessible; and so is it vital that businesses become proactive in this regard”.
For more, visit: https://ialabs.ie/