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Mending the Invisible Gap - The Pitfalls of Job Seeking During a Pandemic

The struggle for disabled people to find and access work opportunities during a pandemic amongst recent graduates and a difficult job market is rising.


(Klaus Vedfelt/Getty Images)

Today’s job market shows us the variety of ways people work - offering flexible work hours for carers and allowing a balance between work and daily life; this is positive for mental, physical, and emotional health.


This article will focus on the impact of the Corona Virus on employment and the opportunities for the British public’s employment.


Another positive idea that can help the job crisis is Spreading awareness that working from home can improve employees’ mental health. The BMC Public Health article from two years ago reviews the psychological and physical health benefits of working from home.


According to an article in the Financial Times, the survey they conducted on the Graduates of 2020 revealed that the companies who need the boost to their employment rates with fresh graduates instead made them feel abandoned searching for a job in today’s market, even with their degrees. 


However, the pandemic has taught us that we should not expect “positive” from every outcome.


Furthermore, there seems to be a thin line between the usage of recruitment bot programs scouting for the best candidate and human recruiters, with the bots constantly used for efficiency. 


A struggle in the job market is the growing number of people seeking employment with disabilities, which these bots may immediately disregard due to a lack of previous job experience. A bot only has specific rules under which it has to judge a possible employee. At the same time, a human recruiter may see the potential in someone who has come for an interview, despite their lack of work experience.


“93% of all Hiring Managers use CV scanning software called applicant tracking systems (ATS) to filter candidates from the application pool.” - said Katie Warren at TopCV.co.uk.


Most jobs now mention your CV will be checked for plagiarism, current work experience, work skills, and past companies by a human recruiter and an ATS or Applicant Tracking System.


While these are incredibly useful for recruiters with multiple applications for many jobs and companies, there is a downside.


According to an article written in 2019 on how your CV never reaches a human recruiter, Kerri Anne Renzulli from CNBC wrote that some recruiters might never see a large percentage of applications.


An active job seeker should have the keywords the bot is searching for to decide on an outcome based on how it has been programmed. Your CV may be discarded from the selection of possible job candidates by up to 70-80%, according to a study by Preptel - an American job search firm that seems to be referenced by many articles on how jobseekers can try to ‘Beat The Recruit bots!’. They have been quiet from 2012 to the present day.


Another barrier is the number of reverse ATS websites claiming to help but scamming those looking for advice and feedback on their CVs. Moreover, there are also fake job recruiters advertising jobs that don’t exist - The Federal Trade Commission reported in 2019. 


As a result, the number of people looking for jobs who become disillusioned in their search for work impacts enthusiasm to apply for jobs, which affects both employment rates and the general mental health of jobseekers, whether looking for entry-level jobs or if they were previously employed.


Some solutions have been noticed to try and mend the widening gap in employment. 


Companies are eager to offer hybrid plans of work to help gain entry-level employees and assist their current staff. 


However, the rise in jobs employment needed in the country contrasts with the number of job opportunities advertised for entry or junior level, which has been decreasing drastically for three years according to Jobsite Indeed.com, which has data regularly collected each week.


The inability to find entry-level jobs is causing an unfortunate number of people to seek employment but hitting more barriers than ever in gaining interviews for a career. It’s affecting their mental health and causing them to lose enthusiasm.


“While increasingly more workers feel able to disclose their MHCs to employers due to improved legal protection, data from the Labour Force Survey (2016-2017) shows that 300,000 people with long-term Mental Health conditions lose their job every year due to insufficient organizational practices to either prevent poor mental health, or a lack of reasonable adjustments within the workplace….” Quotes a repository copy of a research paper (open access provided by the University of Leeds, Sheffield, and York) on Active Labour Market programs (or ALMPs) helping people find employment within the UK’s widespread work program, written two years ago.


As a result, the continued and unfounded stigma of people having additional disabilities or medical needs working from home is still considered lazy, which is very harmful, according to The thirty-fifth article in the Journal of Business and Psychology. (written in 2019 and published in 2020) 


However, working from home allows opportunities for people with disabilities - the unseen demographic struggling to find employment, which is desperately needed to boost the mental health and economy of the country.


Despite this research, this stigma barrier had led to more people with disabilities who had registered as unemployed than before, according to the research briefing on disabled people in employment by the UK Government, published last year. 


“-people have borne the brunt of the pandemic’s economic fallout, and this extends to the market for graduate jobs and internships, both of which remain scarcer than before the crisis.” - Jack Kennedy, UK Economist at Indeed.com.


While this pandemic has caused significant challenges and hardships, some solutions to mending the widening gap in employment have been noticed and acted upon in recent years.


These solutions could be the tipping point to more inclusivity in the workplace and workflow for employees, with a better workflow for the future.


This pandemic has taught us more about productive work than the best banana bread recipes we all seemed to focus on initially. 

Our unnecessary employment barriers can and will be removed if we observe the positivity these changes have on the accessibility of job seeking for everyone - all backgrounds and abilities.    


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