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Recruit Group's Initiatives to Break Down Job Market Bias & Barriers that Job Seekers with Disabilities Face

Recruit Group is working toward its goal to help 30 million people facing barriers in the labor market around the world get hired by FY2030, and that includes eliminating bias against people with disabilities. Due to the wide range of disabilities and the unique support requirements that individuals may have in a workplace, many companies are hesitant to hire people with disabilities. Thus, the employment rate for individuals with disabilities remains low because there is no one-size-fits-all approach that suits their diverse needs. However, people with disabilities possess a diverse array of talents and skills, and overlooking these abilities is a huge loss for both companies and society as a whole. Recruit Group is promoting various initiatives to ensure that people with disabilities have fair opportunities and play an active role in the job market.

Employment Rate of People with Disabilities is Low Worldwide

According to the WHO, more than 1 billion people, or approximately 15% of the world's population, have some form of disability, including physical, mental, and intellectual disabilities.*1 However, the employment rate of people with disabilities is low worldwide. In the United States, 26% of the adult population is said to have a disability*2, but only 21.3% of people with disabilities were employed in 2022.*3 In Japan, where employment of people with disabilities is compulsory, less than half of companies meet the legal employment rate regulated by the government.*4 Other OECD countries are in a similar situation to the U.S. and Japan, while developing countries have even lower rates.

What specific barriers do job seekers with disabilities face in the job market?

First, not many companies actively hire people with disabilities, and job opportunities are limited. Many companies are still reluctant to hire people with disabilities, not knowing what accommodations are needed for which disability and what kind of work assignment will make the best use of their abilities. In addition, some companies’ workplaces physically cannot facilitate workers with disabilities.

Furthermore, it is difficult for people with disabilities to find these limited employment opportunities on their own. Even in 2022, it is said that only 3% of websites are accessible for all, including those with visual or reading disabilities,*5 making it difficult to find out which jobs and workplaces are suitable. There is no one-stop website where people can find jobs that welcome applications from those with disabilities. In Japan, most cases are referrals through care facilities or dedicated counselors at public employment services.

In addition, even if they were able to find a job, many quit after a short period of time due to lack of understanding and consideration from those around them. These difficulties combine to make the retention rate for this group well below the average. In Japan, less than 60% of people with disabilities working for private companies stay in the same workplace for more than a year.*6

In the following section, we will introduce some of the initiatives that each Strategic Business Unit (SBU) of Recruit Group is undertaking to reduce these barriers.

*1 WHO’s data in 2011
*2 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
*3 Bureau of Labor Statistics
*4 Japan Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare’s "Employment Status of Persons with Disabilities in 2020"
*5 WebAIM, a non-profit based at Utah State University
*6 Vocational Center for Persons with Disabilities’ Data in 2017

HR Technology SBU: Indeed's Initiatives

Indeed is working on initiatives to reduce barriers to people with disabilities through its platform and products, partnerships, and Inclusion Business Resource Groups (IBRGs).*7

1. Platform
In the UK, Indeed awards Disability Confident badges to companies that participate in the UK government's Disability Confident scheme. This allows job seekers to easily find companies that make an active effort to hire people with disabilities and are working to create a more diverse and inclusive workplace.

A job description with disability confident badge

Disability Confident badge

2. Product development
Indeed set the Indeed Accessibility Policy in 2020 to ensure that its products to be developed are accessible for everyone, including users with disabilities. Based on the policy, Indeed undertakes role-specific training and screen reading tests. Indeed also has its own accessibility standards, working with partner companies to develop products that follow the WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guideline), an international guideline on web accessibility.

3. Partnership
Indeed has forged partnerships with the National Health Service (NHS) and Shaw Trust in the UK, and nonprofit organizations in the US, such as Goodwill. With these organizations, Indeed is working to support job seekers with disabilities, collaboratively develop a supportive ecosystem, and improve the Indeed platform.

4. Inclusion Business Resource Groups (IBRGs)
Employee-led Inclusion Business Resource Groups (IBRGs) have been launched in order to promote the success of employees with disabilities within Indeed. The IBRGs are creating a wide range of discussions on the issues and solutions, fostering a sense of belonging. One example is
Access IndeedTo an external site, which aims to improve employees’ knowledge and understanding of all types of disabilities.

*7 Commonly referred to as Employee Resource Groups, which are voluntarily run by employees who share specific attributes (gender, sexual orientation, nationality, race, lifestyle, etc.) and experiences. It is a bottom-up diversity promotion measure that has been popular in the U.S. since the 1970s, and is now being adopted by more than 90% of Fortune 500 companies.

Staffing SBU: Recruit Staffing’s Initiatives

As part of Recruit Staffing, Ability StaffingTo an external site (only in Japanese) provides temporary staffing services, specializing in workers with mental disabilities. Ability Staffing focuses on job opportunities where workers can continue to engage long-term rather than simply maximizing the number of placements. The company provides accommodations tailored to each temporary staff member’s neurodiversity*8 through pre-registration interviews and follow-up with specialized staff, as well as promoting client companies’ understanding of mental disabilities. This approach has resulted in significantly improved retention rates.

Another Recruit Staffing company, Recruit Staffing Crafts, promotes employment by specializing in the areas that people with severe intellectual disabilities tend to excel at. The company started with a business recycling used paper and manufactured goods, including desk calendars, in April 2008. From April 2021, Recruit Staffing Crafts expanded its scope to data input and processing, as well as drafting documents and articles, a setup which enables working from home.

*8 Neurodiversity is a term formed by combining 'neuro' (related to the brain and nerves) and 'diversity,' which refers to recognizing the range of differences in individual brain function and behavioral traits as part of normal human variation. It involves acknowledging and utilizing these differences for the betterment of society.

Matching & Solutions SBU: Initiatives of Recruit Co., Ltd.

More than 80% of Recruit Office Support employees have disabilities, which handles back-office operations of Recruit Co., Ltd., including general affairs, contract management and accounting. In June 2016, Recruit Office Support introduced a remote-base employment program, actively employing individuals with disabilities in rural areas where there are fewer companies and job opportunities.

Recruit Co., Ltd. 's program, ParaRingTo an external site (only in Japanese), aims to achieve a society where everyone can actively participate in work, regardless of their disability status. The term “ParaRing” combines "paradigm shift" and "ring." To deepen people’s understanding of disabilities, Recruit Co., Ltd. holds classes and para-athlete events at elementary and junior high schools. In recent years, to reach a broader audience, they have expanded their program to offer an online learning platform and virtual reality (VR) para-athlete simulation videos through Study Sapuri, a widely-used online study platform operated by Recruit Co., Ltd. in Japan. These resources serve to foster awareness and understanding about disabilities and the concept of a symbiotic society.

For a Society Where Everyone Can Access Fair Employment Opportunities

There are approximately one billion people with disabilities worldwide. Not only is it beneficial for these individuals to secure employment, earn wages and achieve independence, but it also makes a positive contribution to society as a whole. Especially in the context of a society grappling with a shrinking working population due to declining birthrates and an aging population, empowering people with disabilities could prove to be a formidable driving factor in sustaining and expanding economic growth. Recruit Group aims to create a society where everyone has equal employment opportunities and can actively contribute, while also fostering an environment where companies can harness the skills and capabilities of people with disabilities to drive business growth. We will continue to prioritize employing people with disabilities, breaking down barriers through platform enhancements, partnerships, and internal recruitment, all aimed at fostering more equitable opportunities.

Nov 8, 2023

This article is based on information available at the time of publication.