How having a salary can benefit a disabled person

There are two ways to get paid for a job; wage and salary. Depending on which industry you work in will determine which you get. As a person with a disability, I understand that many of us care more about securing employment and don’t really mind how we get paid. However, after working waged jobs for years, I’ve recently started a salaried position.

And trust me when I say there’s a difference. So, based on my experience, I’ve compiled a list of reasons I think salaried positions might be a better fit those of us with disabilities and neurodiversities.

A man sat at a desk with his laptop, laughing

Some positives

  1. Consistent pay – Knowing what you’re earning each month means you can budget better and potentially have more to save. A report by disability charity Scope found that, on average, a disabled person spends an extra £550 a month on expenses.
  2. Benefits – Now, it’s standard to get holiday and pension contributions from wage jobs; however, when you take home a salary, you potentially get more benefits. Like a pay increase based on your performance or the ability to earn more holiday.
  3. Structured work hours – The hours are consistent. It might seem small, but it offers consistency and stability and allows you to take better care of yourself. Shift work used to cause me a lot of pain, but now I always know what I’m working I don’t have to monitor my spoons so much and I can use my energy where it matters.
  4. Flexible working – In the wake of the pandemic, we’re experiencing an uptick in hybrid and remote working. As I’ve discussed previously, this benefits everyone, not just those of us with disabilities. Remote and hybrid working offers more flexibility, a reduction in travel and a more accommodating workday.
  5. An accommodating workplace – It’s just an observation on my end. Still, I’ve noticed a trend in my friend group, those of us with disabilities working in salaried positions get their needs met a lot quicker. I know reasonable adjustments are practised across the board. However, I suspect there are a few factors expediting the process for salaried workers include having an HR department and access to more resources.
  6. The security – I feel a type of security in a salaried position that I haven’t felt in my wage positions. I feel less expendable. There’s a comfort and confidence that coincides with being paid what my experience and skills are worth.
Scrabble letters reading "Be positive"

I’ve realised that, like with everything, there are some downsides to being paid a salary. For me, they centred around the way salaried pay works.

Things to consider

  1. No overtime – One thing I miss about hourly paid work is just that. I got paid for the hours I worked. However, with salaried positions, you get paid the same amount in a day, even if you stay late.
  2. Potential pay cuts – Salaries can be some of the first things that get cut if your company is experiencing financial difficulty. Don’t worry, though; this will never happen without warning.
  3. How you get paid – Wage jobs can be paid weekly or bi-weekly. However, salaried jobs typically get paid monthly. Whilst this shouldn’t cause long-term issues, it can make transitioning from one to the other difficult for the first month as you may find yourself short on money, so bear that in mind if you’re swapping to a new position.

Making a move to salaried employment can be daunting, but I feel the benefits of doing so outweigh the negatives.

I think salaried work offers more security with fixed hours and pay. I feel that makes my disability more manageable, as I’m no longer affected by the shortfalls of shift pattern work. It’s also flexible; I can pick which days I go into the office, meaning I can schedule appointments without taking time off.

Mug with cartoon spilled out liquid with letters reading "doing my best"

About Bua

Bua’s mission is to help give disabled and neurodiverse people the skills to break into the creative industry. Bua offers free, accessible courses allowing you to build a portfolio and enter creative work. Bua also consults with organisations.

About the author

Lauren is a freelance writer from Falmouth. After graduating from university, she took a keen interest in writing about disabilities. Her goal is to share her story and others like it with passion and conviction.

Knowing your rights as a disabled person in applications and employment

Audio version of this blog – click play above

Knowing your rights is crucial, regardless of your circumstances. If you know your rights, you’ll always be able to exercise them accordingly. Whilst everyone has the same fundamental rights in the UK, it’s important to understand that some groups have extra protection against discrimination. Those of us with disabilities and neurodiversities included.

There can be so much information that it can be challenging to know where to start when you’re learning about your rights. Luckily, Bua recently released a free course: ‘Knowing Your Rights – Tips For Applications, Interviews and Employment’. It’s short and informative; you just need to sign up to access it.

This blog will act as a companion piece to that course, offering a breakdown of the content for quick and accessible referencing. Although, when you have the time, I do recommend completing the course. It’s great.

Sign on a lamppost reading "every human has rights"

What is a disability?

Disability is defined as a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial or long-term effect on your health and well-being. ‘Substantial’ in this case is determined by the impact your condition has on your ability to achieve simple tasks. ‘Long-term’ is defined as being ongoing for more than a year.

Disabilities can include physical and sensory impairments, neurodiversity, long-term health conditions and mental health challenges.

Models of disability

These models are used by society to view and define disability and impact how people approach disability. There are loads of different types, and you might not even know you’re using them.  

Medical Model: The disability is an individual issue caused by illness, trauma or condition requiring care.

Social Model: Disability is viewed as a socially created issue that we can fix through the adaption and integration of disabled individuals.

Champion Model: We are all unique with our skills and abilities, which should be seen and celebrated, and we should be creating environments that enable this thinking.

Barriers in the workplace

Barriers you need to be aware of include attitude-based barriers and inaccessibility-centric issues.

Attitude Barriers:

  • Applying medical model thinking
  • Lack of understanding of disabled experience
  • Ableism and internalised ableism

Accessibility Barriers:

  • People being unaware that they’ve created accessibility issues.
  • Is information provided in an accessible way across different formats?

Unaware of Legal Obligations:

  • Your workplace doesn’t know about ‘Access to work’/ doesn’t have policies in place about it.

No Signposting:

  • The hiring team is unaware of the company’s available support or helpful legislation.

All of these things can be seen as barriers in the workplace that can prevent a disabled of neurodiverse person from integrating to the best of their ability.

Image of a road with signs and barriers saying "road closed"

The Law

The Equality Act (2010) is a legal framework protecting individuals’ rights and creating equality and opportunity for everyone. This act protects a person from:

(a) unfair treatment and;

(b) promotes a more fair and equitable society.

The nine protected characteristics are age, disability, gender or sexuality, marriage or partnership, race, religion and beliefs. The Equality Act also defines disability as the UK government recognises it. This definition is written with the medical model in mind.

Businesses must provide reasonable accommodations to disabled workers if they are at a significant disadvantage to their peers. This can include providing equipment, changing practices, removing physical features, or providing alternative access. Accommodations should be carried out as quickly as possible to reduce barriers.

Discrimination in the workplace

Discrimination means treating someone less favourably than someone else because of a protected characteristic. There are several forms of discrimination:

Direct: A person is treated more poorly because of a protected characteristic.

Indirect: This can happen if policies or laws are implemented which negatively affect those with protected characteristics and not others.

Harassment: Where a person violates your dignity, or their actions create an uncomfortable or hostile environment for you.

Victimisation: Where people may treat you unjustly if you are taking action under the Equality Act or are helping someone else to do so.  

What to do if you’ve faced discrimination?

If you feel discriminated against in the workplace, visit the Equality Advisory and Support Service. They help walk you through the process of fighting discrimination; this includes rectifying denial of reasonable accommodations.

Equality and Human Rights Commission is great for legal advice, and Disability Rights (UK) is brilliant for helping you approach uncomfortable situations in the workplace.

More resources are linked in the course, which you can find on Bua’s website.

Scales of justice statue

About Bua

Bua’s mission is to help give disabled and neurodiverse people the skills they need to break into the creative industry. Bua offers free, accessible courses allowing you to build a portfolio and enter creative work. Bua also consults with organisations to be more inclusive.

About the author

Lauren is a freelance writer from Falmouth. After graduating from university, she took a keen interest in writing about disabilities. Her goal is to share her story and others like it with passion and conviction.

Getting support in the workplace

Audio version of this blog

Support in the workplace involves employers giving their staff the tools they need to succeed. It’s a form of equity that levels the playing field for disabled and neurodiverse employees.

In the UK, it is a legal requirement for employers to provide support in the workplace. It’s always worth talking to your employer to see how your company offers support in the workplace. It’s important to know that you don’t need to be diagnosed with a disability to ask for help. However, you must fit the definition of “disabled” set out by the Equality Act 2010.

If you need support, your employer may ask you to complete a “workplace needs assessment”. These assessments gauge how and where you need support in the workplace. Employers can also help you apply for the “Access to Work Scheme”.

The Access to Work Scheme (ATW) is a grant-based service that a disabled or neurodiverse person can use to help provide them with support in the workplace. It is an invaluable tool that you should investigate.

Eligibility

You can apply for ATW if you are employed by a company or are self-employed. Whilst it helps if you tick all the criteria, don’t worry if you can’t. Applications are viewed on a case-by-case basis, so it’s still worth applying.

Employed by an organisationSelf employed
16+ years oldMust be self-employed for 1+ years
Has been employed for 6+ weeksHas completed two self-assessment tax returns
Has a 3+ month contractHas a UTR (unique taxpayer reference) number
If the company has 50+ employees, they may be asked to help the government with some of the costsHas made £6,200 in the last year
OR
You can prove that you will do so within 2 years by providing a business plan or forecast

You can also start your application six weeks before you begin working if you can prove you are on a contract. ATW is a reimbursement scheme; it won’t cover purchases made before your application.

Woman in professional clothes with a prosthetic leg

What you can use the grant for

ATW can be used to purchase anything you can think of that may help you. If you can prove it will be beneficial to you, you have a chance of getting support.

  • Purchasing printer and ink: This one is great if you struggle to read on a computer screen.
  • Noise-cancelling headphones: They are perfect for those navigating Autism, as they can reduce stimuli input.
  • A support worker is great for those with physical impairments and neurodiversites. Having an extra pair of hands to help means you can focus on completing the important tasks.
  • You can use it to cover travel expenses! Getting to the office or travelling to an external location just became easier.
  • Equipment that makes reading and digesting text easier. Perfect for those who have dyslexia and dyscalculia. For example, speech-to-text software, dictaphones and advanced spell checkers.

It is worth noting it’s difficult to apply for subscription services through ATW. It is preferred that the grant is used for one-off payments. It also doesn’t cover the cost of reasonable adjustments, as this is a legal obligation your employer must fulfil.

When you get your equipment, you will also receive training. Your managers can also be provided with relevant training if you think it will help you.

Two woman sat on a sofa with a laptop smiling at each other

Support with your application

Once you begin the application process, you will be assigned a case worker to discuss your needs. However, filling in forms can be daunting, so be sure to ask for support if you need it.

  • Your employers will help you. It’s a good idea to let them know you’re applying, as they will be contacted to provide further information. You don’t want to slow down the process.
  • For those with neurodiversities, you should check out Exceptional Individuals. They understand how difficult it can be to apply and justify yourself as a neurodiverse person. They handle the application process for you.
  • Suppose you feel you need extra support when making your application. It’s worth checking out this guide provided by Diversity and Disability. You can also contact them for further help and information.

Support in work – reasonable accommodations

Providing reasonable accommodations for disabled and neurodiverse candidates is a legal requirement in the UK. Examples include:

  • Providing a ramp for wheelchair users or creating enough space for ease of movement.
  • For neurodiverse workers, it can include providing a permeant desk rather than hot-desking or providing space and equipment to help combat overstimulation.
  • It can also include support for those dealing with mental health issues and be used to provide sensitivity training to employees.

About Bua

Bua’s mission is to help give disabled and neurodiverse people the skills they need to break into the creative industry. They do this by offering different courses that cater to different interests and fields. Bua also offers consulting for organisations.

About the author

Lauren is a freelance writer from Falmouth. After graduating from university, she took a keen interest in writing about disability, so her story and others like it could be told with passion and conviction. 

Interviewing a prospective employer

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Being interviewed for a job can be stressful. I always feel a sense of pride if I make it to the interview stage, but I’m still always nervous. Whether I declare my disability during the application process depends on the position I’m after. However, during an interview it naturally comes up because, even though it won’t likely impact my ability to work, it’s a massive part of who I am.

I used to get nervous during job interviews for two reasons. One, I really wanted the job, which we can all relate to and two; I was worried I’d be seem as less capable than my peers. As I’ve become more comfortable with myself and my skills the second reason doesn’t worry me as much.

Especially when I was taught that an interview works both ways. That I was interviewing my prospective employers, just like they were interviewing me. So, from then on, I began looking for signs that signalled a good work environment.

Two woman sat opposite each other at a table

Ask yourself, how does this business cater to my needs?

From personal experience I’ll listen for anything indicating about how accommodating they are. Whilst my disability doesn’t really impact my work physically anymore, it used to. I used to ask if management were happy with me factoring in my pain and fatigue and how that might impact my needs.

If you are neurodiverse, you might be interested in how the daily running of the office works. Will you be hotdesking? Are management happy for you to remove yourself from over-stimulating situations. Can or will they provide tools to help with that?

Workplaces lack disabled representation. So, you might expect to hear cookie cutter answers about company policies and procedures. Which can be reassuring but a bit vague. I also like to ask if there are any other disabled people working in a place. I always feel better if someone says yes because it means I can trust the company a bit more.

Also, try not to ask just disability centric questions. Make sure to show you’re willing to invest time and energy into the company too.

Cartoon blue question mark on a plain pink background

Questions you can ask a prospective employer

1. As a company/ employer, how do you cater to the individual needs of your employees?

I like this one because you’re not specifically mentioning disability and it’ll give your insight into the company’s ethics. Following regulations is one thing, but do they mention anything that shows they’re willing to go the extra mile.

2. I’d be interested in applying for the Access to Work Grant. Do you have any experience with this?

Access to work is a scheme which a disabled worker can get financial backing to help with workplace needs. Your employer is required to help with the application, so it’s handy to make them aware you’re applying.

3. What sort of opportunities for training and progression does your business offer?

This shows initiative and demonstrates you have a vested interest in this work opportunity. It costs money to train people. Show a willingness to learn and pick up new skills and you’ll be noticed.

4. Where do you see yourself in ‘X’ years?

Like the previous question this shows you’re interested in the company long-term. By doing this you show that you’re reliable and stick with a company, which is good for everyone involved, because you gain experience, and they spend less on hiring people.

5. Are you open to hybrid or remote working?

Post-pandemic this seems to be a frequent question. Flexible working can be ideal for all employees, not just disabled ones. Ask if they’re open to the option. The answer will tell you a lot about the business.

Phrases to look out for

During your interview look out for these phrases, as they could indicate structural issues within the business:

  • We’re like family: to me this means you might be asked to overstretch yourself to ‘look after’ your team members. But there’s a difference between helping and carrying the workload.
  • Not having answers to disability related questions: For me, this signals that there’s been a lack of foresight. Every company should have procedures in place to cater for disabled staff, even if they’re not used.
  • You should be contactable at all times: or, we expect new starters to work (sometime unpaid) overtime. Basically, anything that contradicts the hours and time limits set out in job adverts. Having boundaries doesn’t mean you’re a bad candidate.

When it comes to interviewing your employer I recommend having questions you want to ask prepped, as it takes some of the pressure off. It also means you can focus on areas that weren’t already covered during the initial interview.

Remember, it’s just as much about the company being a good fit for you, as you being a good fit for them.

About Bua

Bua’s mission is to help give disabled and neurodiverse people the skills they need to break into the creative industry. They do this by offering different courses that cater to different interests and fields. Bua also consults for organisations.

About the author

Lauren is a freelance writer from Falmouth. After graduating from university, she took a keen interest in writing about disability, so her story and others like it could be told with passion and conviction. 

How to demonstrate useful skills while job hunting

Audio version of this blog

If you’ve been working, training or job hunting you’ll have come across the terms “hard and soft skills”. Hard skills are defined as skills that are abilities and knowledge you have that are related to your job. Soft skills on the other hand are qualities that relate to your personality and how they assist you in your job.

As a disabled person it may seem hard to quantify your skills, especially if you’ve been out of work. Whether you’re applying for jobs or are already in the workplace it’s important that you use your lived experience to demonstrate your skillset.

Meme of someone looking surprised, text reads "you mean to tell me I need both soft and hard skills to succeed"

Commonly asked for skills in the workplace

Hard SkillsSoft Skills
Tech skillsGood communication
Active listener
Microsoft Office, Google Drive or other office software suiteApproachable
Team player
Analytical and data skillsWant to pursue personal growth
Ambitious, driven
Presentation skillsAdaptable
Flexible
Time managementStrong work ethic

How to demonstrate you have these skills

When Applying

Use a combination of any work and personal experience you have to showcase desired skills. Your education, any training and volunteering you’ve done, it can all be used to your advantage. Make sure you have a list of your skills somewhere on your CV and reference their use.

I have cerebral palsy and I didn’t get my first job until I was twenty. Whilst I job hunted, I made sure to jam my CV with anything I was doing inside and outside of university. Education allows a person to obtain transferable skills that can be applied to almost any job. For example, through my education I became a quick learner, I could adapt and I worked well under pressure. All things I mentioned in my applications.  

Voluntary positions are great, especially if it’s in something you enjoy. This will demonstrate a few things, including your willingness to help others, your passion for a particular field or area and your drive to gain experience. Also, along with experience, you’ll likely gain some sort of training during your work. Even mentioning long standing hobbies and what you do for them will demonstrate skills.

Image of two people with boxes of food and sweatshirts on that read "volunteer"

I understand it can be daunting mentioning your disability during the application process because you fear it may lead to judgement. However, your lived experience can be invaluable and you should use it to your credit. Those of us in the disabled and neurodiverse communities can be extremely creative in our problem solving. We have to navigate a world not designed for us, as such, we often come up with out of the box solutions.

Now, examples will differ from experience but I’ve realised that my disability makes me empathetic and has leant me patience. That might not sound important, but it really is. Being able to relate to others and sympathise with them means you gain a better understanding of them so you can build a solid relationship.

Remember, the ideal CV should be no more than an A4 sheet, excluding a cover letter. Make sure you read a job application thoroughly and only mention skills, training and experience that is relevant to the role. That way your application doesn’t get bogged down. If you can, also make sure your references back up your experience.

During the Interview

I always get stuck in the interviewing process, I talk to much because of nerves. I now combat that by listing my relevant skills and experience in relation to a job before I interview. I recommend doing this. It keeps you concise and professional. The interviewer should have your CV with them. During your interview its important to prove your experience with anecdotal evidence. Always try and link back to the CV and skills and experience you’ve provided.

People shaking hands

Be prepared to be asked curveball questions that are seemingly unrelated to the job. People tend to ask brainteasers to try and gauge your personality. Towards the end of interview ask any questions you may have. I’ve found that asking about training opportunities or development programs always goes down well, as it shows my willingness to learn.

Almost anything can be used as experience when applying for jobs. It’s just how you pull together the information. You know yourself the best, make sure you showcase yourself to the best of your ability.

About Bua

Bua’s mission is to help give disabled and neurodiverse people the skills they need to break into the creative industry. They do this by offering different courses that cater to different interests and fields. Bua also offers business consulting.  

About the Author 

Lauren is a freelance writer from Falmouth. After graduating from university, she took a keen interest in writing about disability, so her story and others like it could be told with passion and conviction. 

Getting to know a colleague with a disability

Audio version of this blog – click play above

As a person with a visible disability, I often find that some non-disabled people struggle with initial conversation and how to act around me. Most of the time, this is because of awkwardness. People don’t always know what to say or fear saying the wrong thing, so they opt to say nothing.

However, disability is nothing to shy away from; in fact, conversation and getting to know someone is the best way to start breaking down stigmas. Here are some dos and don’ts for when you’re getting to know someone who is disabled or neurodiverse.

Do

Acknowledge the person first and the disability second

This can be the first stumbling block for a lot of people, especially if they haven’t interacted with a person with a disability before. I can’t stress enough that we’re just ordinary people. We just have slightly different needs to you. Try your best to see us first and our disability second.

Ask questions

Quote from Riley Barry via Facebook, May 2022: "My diagnosis is for me to share."

Curiosity is normal. When I started to work, I learned that I was the first disabled person most of my colleagues had ever interacted with or spoken to. Naturally, they asked questions about my condition and how I worked because of it.

Please be aware that just because you ask questions doesn’t mean you’re entitled to answers. Many disabled people like to answer questions as it breaks down barriers and helps them be seen as an individual. Remember that not everyone is comfortable with disclosing their experiences and you have to respect that.

Be aware of invisible disabilities

Not every person with a disability has a visible one. Some people may have ADHD, autism or another form of neurodiversity. Others could have a chronic illness that doesn’t present physically.

You never know what someone is going through, even though you may think you do. So, just be aware of that and treat everyone with respect and kindness.

Be mindful of the language you use

This one links with the first point. Make sure to use person-first language as often as possible, as I have throughout this article. Always make an effort to identify the person before their disability, i.e. “Our new colleague has cerebral palsy” versus “Our new disabled colleague.”

It may seem like these two statements are saying the same thing. Effectively they are. However, the first uses the colleague as the subject, which is the important part of the statement. The second highlights the person’s disability first, which can be alienating and stipe a person of their identity.  

View a disabled colleague as equal

Irrespective of a person’s disability, if they’re working, it’s because they can do the job. They’re not there as some token gesture. They just have different life experiences, which have given them a lot of skills. Allow them the respect and credit they deserve.

Don’t

Don’t move mobility aids

It may seem obvious, but people have done it to me. It doesn’t matter if it’s a walking stick or a wheelchair. You don’t play with them, move them without our consent or tamper with them.

Mobility aids are an extension of a person and vital for getting around. Unless a person tells you otherwise, leave them alone.

Meme of Gru from the film "despicable me" with a whiteboard that reads:
1. "Thank you for your enquiry about wheelchair access"
2. "there is only one step into the shop"
3. "we are pleased to say we have full disabled access"
4. "there is only one step into the shop"

Don’t talk down to us

This one frustrates the disabled community. On mass. Don’t talk down to a person with a disability. I assure you that we can understand. We’re not the office novelty or children that need to be coddled.

Also, never talk to someone else on our behalf. I mean talking to someone else and expecting them to answer for us.

Don’t help us unless we ask you too

You might go to help a colleague who is struggling with something. After all, that’s the decent thing to do. However, I can say from experience it’s embarrassing and demeaning when someone helps me without my consent.

I have no problem receiving help; I just like to be asked first. Especially if it’s from someone I don’t know well. Just always ask if it’s okay before you jump in to help. And don’t get offended if the offer isn’t accepted.

Don’t pretend to have a disability or use outdated language

I think this one is obvious but don’t pretend to have a disability or mimic the actions of a colleague that is disabled. Also, avoid outdated terms. Although I doubt many people would now, it does still happen.

Quote from Ceri Anne via Facebook, May 2022: "Don't presume my abilities and that I don't have capacity"

I’ve seen this kind of behaviour passed off as a joke, and it’s not funny. It’s cruel and belittling. I guarantee that someone around you has or knows someone with a disability, and it’s horrible to witness.  

Following these points will help you break the ice with a new co-worker. If in doubt, always be mindful, have empathy, and consider how others will receive your actions and comments.

About Bua

Bua was founded to increase disabled and neurodiverse employment and inclusion. Bua offers disability and neurodiversity workshops for organisations seeking to change their culture. Get in touch by email or using our contact form to book yours. Bua also offers free training for individuals.

About the Author

Lauren is a freelance writer from Falmouth. After graduating from university, she took a keen interest in writing about disability, so her story and others like it could be told with passion and conviction.

Green Flags to Look For as a Disabled Job Seeker

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You don’t need me to tell you how hard job hunting is. You already know. If you’re reading this article, you probably also understand the extra difficulty of job hunting when you have a disability.

As a person with cerebral palsy, I know how hard job hunting can be. It feels like we must work harder to compensate for our disabilities. As though we must be the best of the disabled community  before being considered for a job. I also know that you’ll inevitably get caught up in the negativity we all feel when we get a rejection email in the whirlwind of applying for jobs. 

Tweet from @autieshawtie on April 13th 2022: "job hunting as a disabled person is hell"

However, what if I reframed the process for you? What if I told you, you’re feeling out prospective employers just like they are with you? When I started to think like this, job hunting became more manageable.

It’s all about looking for the green flags surrounding the company. So, what are some green flags you should consider when job hunting as a disabled person?

1. Disabled Friendly

You should always research the companies you’re applying to, if only briefly. It would be best to determine if the company declares itself as disabled-friendly. Most companies will have this displayed in the bottom banner of their website. For example, ‘Disability Confident’ is a good logo to look out for and proves that the company is disability conscious.

Go a little further if you can. Many companies say they’re disabled and neurodiverse friendly, but I like to see if there’s any evidence to back this up. The most obvious one is, do they showcase their disabled talent? If they don’t, make sure to ask how the company demonstrates being inclusive during the interview.

2. Accessibility

Does the application mention the building’s accessibility? I always find this one reassuring because it shows me the HR team have taken the time to consider the needs of each candidate. Don’t be discouraged if it isn’t because you can always send an email asking about it.

Some good examples of physical accessibility include; ramps, lifts and accessible toilets. For neurodiverse candidates, you might want to inquire if they have a quiet room to combat overstimulation or if the staff has sensitivity training.

Pink sign in the grass with a white wheelchair-user icon, text reading "step free route" and an arrow pointing to the right

3. Disclosing hourly rates/salaries

In a world where many job applications offer competitive salaries, it’s nice to see an actual number. Whether it’s an hourly rate or a salaried position, it means you can figure out if you can afford to take the job. Many job listings now even give an estimated figure based on your experience. Even this shows you the lowest offer.

You can always enquire about rates, but in my experience, companies only disclose rates to those further along in the application process. Honestly, I tend to skip over listings that don’t disclose their wage rate.

4. Alterative application listings

I find it refreshing when a job listing offers alternative ways to access their information. I haven’t seen it used as standard practice yet, but it’s a positive step regardless. Alternative methods I’ve seen offered include audio recordings of listings, calling the company to have someone read to you, and having the text formatted in different fonts and colours.

Never be afraid to ask if there’s an alternative way to view an application.

5. Where they’re advertising

Did you know there are job sites with the disabled community already in mind? Now, that doesn’t mean the job is exclusive to that job site. However, the companies that post to these boards already know you may be a disabled candidate. That removes a barrier for you. You can focus on showcasing your skills rather than worrying about your disability.

Bua advertises job postings on their website and so does Evenbreak.

Photo of a laptop screen from the side with someone's hands at the keyboard

Overall, when it comes to job hunting my advice is go with your gut instinct. Not every job listing is going to factor in all of these points, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad job. Only apply for work your comfortable with doing and don’t be afraid to reach out to companies if you want extra information.

Remember, you have unique skills you can offer. You just have to find the right job for you so you can showcase them.

About Bua

Bua’s mission is to help give disabled and neurodiverse people the skills to break into the creative industry. Bua offers free, accessible courses that allow you to build a portfolio and enter into creative work. For organisations, Bua offers consultations.

About the Author

Lauren is a freelance writer from Falmouth. After graduating from university, she took a keen interest in writing about disabilities. Her goal is to share her story and others like it with passion and conviction.

9 Tips To Prep For A Job Interview

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So, you’re in the thick of it, job hunting, and someone finally offers you an interview.

Interviewing for a job as a disabled person isn’t that different from the experience a non-disabled person. However, as a disabled person, I do think there are a few extra things that we need to consider when we’re going for a job interview.

I’ve compiled a list of tips that I’ve used myself whilst prepping for an interview. I hope you find them as helpful as I did. 

1. Focus on your ability, not your disability

Now, you never have to disclose your disability. Personally, I’ve always declared my disability. I always make a habit of marketing my disability as a strength. 

You might feel differently, but even if you don’t disclose your disability think about what skills it helps you bring to the table. Insight, empathy, and perspective are skills most of us have because of our lived experiences. Make sure to showcase them.  

Tweet from @TweetHeike_HHL from 27th November 2017: "It's so rare for the BBC to produce anything groundbreaking these days #EmployableMe shows the real struggle disabled people face getting into work. I've been told by my advisers to always declare my disability at interviews. I can't help but thinking that's why I can't get a job"

2. Showcase that you have the skills they want

Prospective employers like to have proof of your skill and not just your word. Ensure that you have as much experience as possible in the skills you want to promote. Your experience can be through paid work or voluntary work; it doesn’t matter. Interviewers might ask you to give anecdotal evidence of when you’ve needed to use your skills. Make sure you have a few examples ready.   

3. Research your company

This is a must for any interview prep. It doesn’t need to be a deep dive, but the more you know, the better off you’ll be. I recommend looking into the company ethos and checking if they’re disabled-friendly. Interviews are just as much about you checking the company to see if they fit you well, as it is for them to check you’re good for them. 

4. Know your rights

Legally, a company cannot discriminate against you for a disability. In fact, it’s against the law in the UK to ask you about your disability during an interview. A business can only do that once they have made you a job offer. You can also have reasonable accommodations made for you during the interview.

Want to know more about your rights as a disabled person entering the workforce? Check out Gov.uk or sign up for Bua’s new Knowing Your Rights course.

5. Be ready to explain CV gaps

It’s difficult to break into the job market when you have education and no experience or vice versa. It’s even harder when you have CV gaps. It doesn’t matter what caused the gap but be aware that it may get brought up in an interview.

Try and focus on highlights during your gap and any skills you might have acquired or used during it.

Tweet from @trifinnity from 5th July 2022: "Mentally bracing myself for the interview questions that will likely pop up in my job search: why do you have a 2-year gap in your CV?

Answer? Disability. And I know I would likely be judged and interrogated for it." 

The tweet is followed by a meme of a man holding a sign reading "pain" and smiling sarcastically.

6. Practice

I did this a lot when I started getting interviews, because I was rusty and was really nervous. I’d practise with people that I felt comfortable around and I knew would give me honest and fair criticism.

Being nervous is okay and it’s expected. If you practice it’ll help with your confidence. The more confident and calm you appear, the better you’ll look during your interview.

7. Research building location and accessibility

I use walking sticks and a wheelchair, so I always check this before going for an interview. Also, if I’m able to, I’ll practice my journey there and check accessibility in person. If you can’t do this, you can either phone or email.

Ask questions like: is there a dropped pavement at the front of the building? Accessible toilet? A ramp? Is it possible to do a remote interview? Make sure to cover all of your bases so you don’t have to stress during the day.

8. Ask for feedback

I recommend asking for feedback, especially if you’ll be interviewing a lot. I like to do this in an email after I know whether or not I’ll be progressing. Make sure that you ask for examples of what went well in the interview and what you can improve on.  

This will help you figure out your good attributes and what you should work on. You can then use the feedback to prepare for your next interview opportunity.

Meme of Oprah saying "you get feedback, you get feedback, everybody gets feedback"

9. Stay positive

This one is a bit cliché but the job market is more challenging than ever to navigate. Now it’s more common for a company not to respond when you send a CV rather than rejecting your application. Rejection is part of the process. It’s not because you’re disabled. So, keep a positive outlook. The right job will come along.

These are just some tips for interviewing I think you might find helpful. Remember, If you don’t get a job, that role wasn’t meant for you. It’s not because of your disability.

My main takeaways are using your disability as a strength, knowing your rights, being prepared for rejection, and staying positive. The right job for you is out there. You just have to find it.

About the Author 

Lauren is a freelance writer from Falmouth. After graduating from university, she took a keen interest in writing about disability, so her story and others like it could be told with passion and conviction.

If you’re an organisation that wants to make interviews more accessible and inclusive, fill in the contact form here or email us here.

5 Benefits Your Business Gains by Hiring Disabled People

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Around 1 in 10 people have a disability. That’s 1 billion people in the world, myself included, who have valuable lived experience and irreplaceable transferable skills. Bua’s primary mission is to increase disability employment rates in the creative industry. One way to help achieve this is by offering consultancy sessions with companies like yours.

Being proactive about hiring disabled and neurodiverse people is fantastic. It’s always great to diversify your talent, but it can be daunting. You may even question if you’re making the right decision.

Don’t worry, you are.

Still unsure? Listed below are some of the best reasons you could have for hiring people from the disabled and neurodiverse communities.

  1. Untapped Potential  

There is this wild misconception that disabled people don’t want to work. When in fact, many of us do. What we lack in opportunities, we make up in experience, qualifications, and transferable skills.  

As a business, if you hire a disabled worker, you get to train someone who’s essentially a blank slate. You train your new hires anyway, regardless of their experience. That’s because every business works slightly differently.

What’s the harm in starting from scratch with a person you know is motivated, passionate and eager to contribute?

2. It’s Not That Expensive

I think there’s this misconception that if you hire a disabled person, you have to pay all these extra costs. Insurance, adaptations, paying for additional sick leave. This is mainly unfounded and is used as an excuse not to hire disabled people. This study found that the costs of employing disabled people were minimal.

3. Fresh Perspective

Continuing my previous point, according to some reports, disabled candidates were less likely to get hired due to reluctance on management’s part.

Hiring disabled workers promotes fresh thinking, empathy in the workplace and increased happiness of workers overall. (deloitte.com).

4. Reduce Turnover

I didn’t get my first job until I was twenty. I stayed with that company for six years. Disabled people value job security because we don’t know when we’ll be lucky enough to get hired again. Yes, I said lucky enough.

It stands to reason then that if you hire a disabled or neurodiverse person, you’re gaining a loyal worker while minimising turnover and future hiring costs.

5. Company Image

As a business, your image is everything. Show you care about who you’re hiring. Your consumers will thank you for it. As a disabled person, I always notice when I see another disabled person working. More importantly for you, I notice where they’re working. I’m always happy to be a repeat customer for companies trying to hire more diversely.

These are just a few reasons I can think of that can benefit you as a business. From what I’ve seen and experienced, companies that have hired disabled and neurodiverse people before are willing to do it again.

Disabled people aren’t asking you to overturn your whole workforce. We’re just asking you to consider us as serious, worthwhile candidates.

About Bua

Bua was founded to increase disabled and neurodiverse employment and inclusion. Bua offers disability and neurodiversity workshops for organisations seeking to change their culture. Get in touch to book yours.

About the Author

Lauren is a freelance writer from Falmouth. After graduating from university, she took a keen interest in writing about disability, so her story and others like it could be told with passion and conviction.

Remote and Hybrid Working: Why it’s a Benefit For Disabled Workers

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As a disabled person, I’ve found that the pandemic has done a lot to hinder daily living. There’s no part of life covid hasn’t influenced. Everything from medical care, socialising, and even work has been affected. Of course, you can say the same of everyone, but in my experience, people rarely stop to think about the impact on those of us with disabilities.

I recently read a report, ‘Disabled workers’ experience during the pandemic’. It concluded that disabled people often face a “negative workplace culture”. During the report’s breakdown, TUC also stated that “many disabled people report that they experienced significant barriers in the workplace before the pandemic and that Covid-19 has made things worse for them.”

Barriers and discriminatory attitudes might go some way to explaining the disability employment gap. As of May 2021, only 52% of disabled people are employed in the UK. (Gov.co.uk). Did you know from July to November 2020, over 20% of people made redundant were disabled workers? (Statistics supplied by ONS).

It’s a bleak picture, to be sure. However, what if the very problem causing so many issues also yielded a solution? Arguably one of the few positives to come out of the pandemic is the practice of remote working.

Now, remote working isn’t something new. However, people are now practising it in mass, and I think it may be part of the answer to the disability employment gap. Below I’ve compiled a list of the benefits of remote and hybrid working for disabled workers and their employers.

Benefits of remote working for employers and disabled workers

  • Flexibility – Remote and hybrid working are far more flexible and more sustainable. It means that we can fit other vital things around work easier. For example, we can take longer breaks or schedule time for a doctor’s appointment. Remote working lets us put our needs first in a more realistic way and helps break down barriers.
  • Creative workers – Disabled people are creative problem solvers. We always need to adapt to our surroundings and situation. Imagine that level of problem-solving ability entering the workforce? Honestly, disabled employees will likely flag problems you didn’t realise were an issue. This can include everything from hot-desking not suiting everyone to your marketing messaging not appealing to its target audience.
  • Lower employee turnover – Offering remote opportunities is an affirmative action, which means fewer barriers for disabled people and more opportunities to succeed. A company working like this is more likely to appeal to disabled job seekers. Disabled workers are more likely to stay under your employee as we value security and career progression.

Did you know?

Autism at Work reports a 90% retention rate of hires they’ve helped, because of offered support networks.

  • Higher productivity and better accountability – Remote working means your workers have to be accountable for themselves, rather than having management checking in constantly. A workers’ mood, level of productiveness and sense of worth are interconnected. Show that you trust your employees by allowing remote and hybrid work to continue.
  • More job opportunities – I’ve noticed an increase in remote working opportunities. This is great for disabled people that need work but can’t make it to an office every day. It also goes a long way to decreasing the disability employment gap, which is currently just over 50%.
  • No physical workplace barriers – All businesses must make reasonable adjustments for their disabled staff. However, working from home removes even more obstacles. We don’t have to worry about mobility around the office. We don’t need to struggle with pain management because we feel self-conscious. Working from home can also decrease overstimulation. There’s also a shortened commute for everyone, meaning more time spent with friends and family or at home.

Working from home needs to continue because it’s beneficial to everyone. As it becomes the norm, I believe that it’ll play a significant role in shrinking the disability employment gap. It’s more flexible and less stressful and removes barriers for the disabled workforce.

Is it the perfect solution? No, everything has its drawbacks. People argue it increases social isolation and difficulty separating work and home life. Remote working may not be for everyone. We’re all different, but the benefit of remote working for the disabled community is enormous, and I’m excited to see where it leads.

About Bua

Bua was founded to increase disabled and neurodiverse employment and inclusion. Bua offers disability and neurodiversity workshops for organisations seeking to change their culture. Get in touch to book yours.

About the Author

Lauren is a freelance writer from Falmouth. After graduating from university, she took a keen interest in writing about disability, so her story and others like it could be told with passion and conviction.