How Accessible is your Careers Site?

WCAG 2.1 AAA logo

Hopefully you have seen that the Evenbreak job board has moved to a fantastic new platform! As ever, there is a back story to this …

When we started Evenbreak in 2011, web accessibility wasn’t generally considered important. However, it was crucial to us and our audience of disabled people. In fact, we had to have our job board built from scratch, with accessibility built in from the start to AAA – the highest (and most complex) level of web accessibilitypossible.

Hard to believe now, but in those days, no-one could access the internet on their mobile phones, so our site, although built to AAA, wasn’t designed with mobile optimisation in mind. Fast forward to now, and 45% of job seekers search for jobs daily on their mobile device, and 89% of job seekers think mobile devices play a critical role in the job hunting process (source). This is likely to be even greater for disabled people, due to the accessibility offered by smartphones. So, Evenbreak was excluding all of those disabled candidates who search for jobs on their mobile phone. Something had to be done!

We assumed, oh so wrongly, that by now accessibility would be a standard feature built in to the development of any website, particularly those involved in recruitment. In our search for the developers who would create our new – mobile-friendly – site, it was easy to find companies who could build us a job board that worked well on mobile phones. This came as standard. 

When we asked those companies about accessibility, it was a different story altogether. The responses ranged from “what’s that?” to “we can offer you AA, and that’s good enough.” Well, actually, it isn’t good enough. The people who are not able to access those sites are the same people who will always be excluded from the job market. As a job board specifically aimed at supporting disabled candidates, AA certainly wasn’t “good enough” for us.

This got us thinking about careers sites on company websites. It turns out that less than 10% of websites are accessible. What level of accessibility is yours? If it’s less than AAA, we’re really not surprised. As we discovered, it’s so hard to find developers – even specialist recruitment developers – that really understand accessibility.

Does it matter? Well, yes it does. We know that there is a huge business case for employing disabled people. If talented disabled candidates can’t access your careers site, you can’t access their talent.

Back to our search. When we had contacted what felt like a few hundred developers who either didn’t understand accessibility or thought that AA was “good enough”, imagine our delight when we finally found a developer who specialise in careers sites whose answer to the question around accessibility was “of course – AAA is standard in all our products, including careers sites and Applicant Tracking Systems”.

So the new Evenbreak is both brilliant on a mobile phone, and has the highest standard of accessibility possible. Can you say the same of your careers site? If not, it might be worth talking to TribePad. They worked with us (I suspect we were one of their more awkward and demanding clients!) really closely, and this resulted in a site that we – and more importantly, our candidates – love.

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