Up to 200,000 people in Ireland could be missing out on career opportunities due to inaccessible jobs websites, according to research from NCBI and IA Labs.
New research commissioned by the National Council for the Blind of Ireland (NCBI) has suggested that 89pc of job search sites are not digitally accessible for people with a disability.
This means that many jobseekers with a disability could struggle to interact with websites when searching for roles and submitting applications.
The research was compiled by Inclusion and Accessibility Labs (IA Labs). It assessed some of Ireland’s most prominent job recruitment websites, performing a manual accessibility audit that used Google Lighthouse as its control.
Employment websites were evaluated according to a number of criteria, including whether the website published an accessibility statement.
The report also provided an analysis of websites’ critical user journeys, taking account of navigation menus, interactive elements, tables, online forms and the colour contrast of images and text.
It found that up to 200,000 people in Ireland could be missing out on career opportunities due to inaccessible websites.
Compared to other European countries, Ireland has one of the lowest rates of employment for people with disabilities. Just 36pc of people with a disability in Ireland are active in the workforce.
Kyran O’Mahoney, CTO of NCBI and co-founder and director of IA Labs, said that the report’s findings “demonstrate the tangible barriers that people with disabilities face when trying to carry out basic tasks, such as searching or applying for a job”.
IA Labs was established in 2021 with a focus on inclusion amid digital transformation. It specialises in website and app audits measured against the EU’s web accessibility directive. This directive applies to EU-wide public sector websites and requires them to meet specific digital accessibility standards.
There are currently no such mandates imposed on non-public sector websites. However, the adoption of the European Accessibility Act will require private sector service providers to make their websites and tech devices easily accessible for all.
O’Mahoney advised Irish businesses to be “proactive” in ensuring their websites comply with accessibility requirements before they become mandatory.
Earlier this year, a report from IA Labs found that 72pc of leading Irish companies do not have websites that are considered accessible for people with disabilities.
10 things you need to know direct to your inbox every weekday. Sign up for the Daily Brief, Silicon Republic’s digest of essential sci-tech news.