No not a focus group or charity rant, just a basic response from someone who has been at the business end.
The debate prompted by hearing aid users struggling to get work and reading one woman who has applied for over a 1,000 of them to no avail, what is going on?
Stating you have a hearing aid or disability issue is a usually death-wish in employment terms. There is no UK law that states you have to mention it on a CV, but many employers suggest then you are trying to get a job via false pretence and making problems for them before an interview, unbelievable! And/or turning up with a BSL terp in tow without an employers knowledge, or demanding they provide one is a killer.
Previously, deaf and disabled were issued with a green 'disability' card, and the CV's asked for the number on it, but it was a sure-fire way of getting a 'dear John sorry the vacancy has been filled' response after. I never carried one or indeed asked for one, just presented myself as I was. To be honest, this did mean 80% of interviews failed miserably, I even got a lecture from the jobcentre after one employer complained they were sending deaf idiots to him for jobs and wasting his time.
The remainder of the interviews, they saw I was really trying to get work and gave me an opportunity, which in the scheme of things is about average for anyone applying for a job really. I didn't demand access, I just took whatever was on offer because I had rent to pay, and no time to make a grandstand on deaf access which could have blacklisted me as a 'problem' applicant. You tended by default to seek out jobs that were pretty solitary really or needed less supervision.
It is also true to say near all the jobs I did get were low paid and well beneath the capabilities I had. I did not have the luxury of the welfare dept subsiding me, it's a great impetus to force yourself into the work area, Sink or swim. I appreciate a lot would just have gone under but, when faced with no choice the only way is to do what you can.
People of a certain age (!) will recall when if you were disabled, deaf or unemployed a long time (Which was less than 3 months in duration), they sent you to work rehab run by the system, viewing you are work shy and it was a sort of 'boot camp' for the long-standing unemployed, by comparison, many have a much easier time of it today. Protected/sheltered employment like Remploy/Monwel the deaf had little access to, and the state struggling to find jobs for hearing and able-bodied, closed the jobs down and gave the work to them instead.
Bear in mind I was profoundly deaf, had limited lip-reading abilities, and did not use sign language or had social workers to fight my corner, which incidentally added to your problems not helped them, as employers would see your 'support' and assume you were unable to do work yourself without it, social workers equal 'problems' and problems an employer doesn't want or need..
Least of all did they welcome the prospect any access you needed they would have to pay for, because they know there are 1,000s of non-deaf and able-bodied out there who would pose a lot less work for them. The law is one thing, changing the mindset, or reality on both sides is quite another. Laws don't create access, or jobs, people do. Our primary disability was/is lack of confidence, not support. Employers prefer people determined to get work by effort, so you have to put that effort in. It means accepting most will reject you initially. You have to stand out to fit in...