As the population of the world continues to grow, it is important to ensure that people with disabilities are able to participate fully in society. Larger businesses are now recognizing this need, and are beginning to hire qualified individuals to help their employees with disabilities. This has created a fast-growing industry, which is now being paid attention to by investors, advocacy groups, and even governments.
According to the 2010 census conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 36 million Americans have a disability, although not all of them are readily visible. This “invisible population” is growing at a faster rate than the general population, and it is projected to reach 50 million people by 2020. This is a trend that employers must start to embrace, since there is no way to avoid hiring people with disabilities.
Accessibility has become an important factor in the tech industry as tech companies realize that it is important to provide those with disabilities better access to tech, especially those using mobile tech. However, these tech companies are still encountering difficulties as they attempt to provide adequate accessibility. Some tech companies do not have enough money or expertise to provide adequate accessibility and other tech companies offer inadequate and confusing accessibility features. These tech companies should take note and should provide more access for those with disabilities.
As businesses seek to make their goods and services more suited to persons with disabilities, accessibility positions, ranging from “head of accessibility” to “accessibility analyst,” are growing at a fast rate across sectors.
LinkedIn stated in response to a data request from The Wall Street Journal that the number of job postings with “accessibility” in the headline increased by 78 percent in the year ending in July compared to the previous year. According to Microsoft Corp.’s professional networking site, such postings increased 38 percent in the year between August 2019 and July 2020 compared to the prior year.
Accessibility jobs still make up a small percentage of the millions of opportunities available on LinkedIn. According to LinkedIn, about 12,000 jobs with the term “accessibility” in the headline were posted between August 2020 and July 2021.
Atlassian Corp., a manufacturer of business-oriented collaboration, development, and issue-tracking software, is seeking for a head of accessibility to oversee the company’s five engineering, research, and design workers who are currently working on accessibility. Atlassian has updated its products to make them more accessible, including introducing a colorblind option to Trello, its collaboration platform.
Colorblind users may utilize Trello’s colorblind mode, which adds patterns to assist them differentiate between labels.
According to Zack Gottlieb, director of design for platform and enterprise at Atlassian, the business is still in the early stages of its accessibility initiatives. Mr. Gottlieb said, “I want to make sure that every experience that comes out of Atlassian is accessible from the start.”
According to activists and hiring managers, the increase in accessibility occupations is driven by a variety of reasons, including the impacts of the Covid-19 epidemic, disability litigation, and diversity and inclusion initiatives.
The widespread use of remote work and online shopping during the pandemic exposed several products’ flaws for consumers and workers, such as the absence of subtitles on video chats, which would have aided individuals with hearing impairments.
“What Covid has done is raised awareness to a degree that nothing else could have,” said Jack McElaney, vice president of sales and marketing at Microassist Inc., a digital accessibility consulting company, and creator of Microassist’s weekly Accessibility in the News.
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Legal danger has also increased. According to data from UseableNet Inc., a technology firm that provides accessibility-compliance technology and services, lawsuits alleging that websites, apps, and digital videos were inaccessible to people with disabilities have increased over the years, with about 3,500 filed in 2020, up from about 2,900 in 2019.
Many businesses are also trying to keep the diversity and inclusion pledges they made in the wake of last summer’s demonstrations against discrimination, racial inequality, and the police killing of George Floyd.
Meanwhile, many baby boomers, estimated at 73 million, need accessibility goods even if they do not consider themselves to be disabled.
According to Jennison Asuncion, director of accessibility engineering evangelism at LinkedIn and operator of the Twitter Inc. account @a11y jobs, which tweets out accessible job postings, companies don’t want to fall behind as the issue grows more popular. The phrase a11y refers to accessible technology, and it is formed from the first and final letters of the word “accessibility,” as well as the 11 between them.
Mr. Asuncion said, “There’s a little bit of kinship and wanting to do the right thing.” “And I don’t believe any business wants to be associated with indifference.”
Jobs for people with disabilities, mental health conditions, and chronic illnesses can be found on traditional job sites as well as dedicated job boards like A11y Jobs and Inclusively, a professional networking platform owned by Ligilo Inc. that focuses on people with disabilities, mental health conditions, and chronic illnesses.
Zendesk Inc. is recruiting for three accessibility-related jobs. The customer-service software firm already has an accessibility program in place, with workers from all across the organization working part-time on it. Zendesk now intends to recruit a full-time accessibility staff, according to Rick Boardman, senior director of product accessibility at Zendesk. He stated that two of the three new employees would report to him.
Mr. Boardman said, “Our aim is to eliminate friction from every step of the customer experience, and accessibility is a critical pillar in providing the greatest service.”
The business has updated its software to make it more accessible, such as adding keyboard support, which allows individuals who are blind or have tremors to browse a website using keyboard shortcuts, such as the tab key.
According to experts, small but tangible improvements in job postings may make it easier for individuals with disabilities to apply for employment and disclose the accommodations they need.
“You want to be able to disclose so that you can receive the accommodations that you need, and you want to be able to do it without feeling like you’re asking for anything extra,” said Alexa Huth, a visually impaired consultant with management consulting company Wheelhouse Group LLC. “It’s what you’ll need to do well in your career, just like everyone else.”
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Ann-Marie Alcántara can be reached at [email protected]
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You’ll definitely want to make sure your website is accessible for people with disabilities if you run a business, sell products or work in a profession that is supported by the public at large. In fact, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) website has a list of best practices developed by the World Wide Web Consortium that all websites should follow.. Read more about google disability hiring and let us know what you think.
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