Is Your Business’s Online Job Search Process Accessible for People With Disabilities?

By Charles Catherine | Essential Accessibility Blog | October 28th, 2021


Close-up of a computer mouse clicking on a link titled "Jobs"


If you look around your neighborhood these days, chances are you will see a lot of “help wanted” signs dotting the business landscape.

As we repeatedly hear, a labor shortage is gripping our nation and employers are struggling to find people wanting a job.

But below the surface is another story. People with disabilities say they want to apply for job openings but often can’t get past the application or interview process. Many online applications are not accessible to screen readers, for instance, and captioning isn’t always available during online job interviews. This leaves many people with disabilities discouraged and unable to even take the first step toward employment.


Is your application process accessible?


In some ways, it’s a real paradox. More and more companies are committed to providing accommodations for their employees with disabilities, making sure they have the technology necessary to work remotely, for example, yet the application process may be riddled with online barriers, preventing these individuals from even applying in the first place.

At the National Organization on Disability, we understand it is not always easy for companies to know everything involved with recruiting and hiring people with disabilities. Adding to the complexity, many people are not likely to disclose a disability during the application process, for fear of discrimination. And they have good reason to feel that way: a Rutgers University study found that employers expressed interest in candidates 26 percent less often if they disclosed a disability in their cover letter.

NOD, whose mission is to make sure all Americans can work, would love it if the current underemployment situation became a boon for people with disabilities. However, only 36 percent of people with disabilities who can work have found jobs in the current economy. This is compared to an average of about 76 percent for their able-bodied peers, according to a recent report.

But we can turn this statistic around. As the saying goes, we don’t know what we don’t know. Companies may need outside help to open up their online employment process to everyone. They also might consider reevaluating their disability inclusion programs.


Track your website’s accessibility


NOD’s  Disability Employment Tracker allows companies to see where they stand against their own disability benchmarks and against those of other companies. We have found that 72 percent of those who have completed the Tracker have a website that is accessible. That is a good beginning but leaves room for improvement when it comes to other digital assets like recruiting sites and accommodations during the interview process.


Here are some ideas for businesses as they consider their online hiring practices:


  • Assign a disability champion who makes sure digital accessibility is a priority
  • Closely examine (and test) all of your digital properties to make sure they are accessible
  • Provide disability inclusion training for the HR team and others
  • Think about whether your presentations, videos, website, online job application, and interview process are all accessible
  • Designate a point person for prospective employees if they have questions or difficulties applying or interviewing for a job
  • Be certain your onboarding materials are accessible once someone is hired

You should also ask yourself a few questions:

  • Is our website compatible with screen readers?
  • Do we have an accessible landing page specifically for job seekers with disabilities?
  • Do we use plain language in all of our job postings and messaging?
  • Are we including captioning on videos and during online interviews?
  • Do we have access to sign language interpreters?
  • Do we have proper accommodations for online interviews with neurodiverse candidates?


By making sure the online application and interview processes are inclusive to people with disabilities, companies will tap into a greater pipeline of talented job candidates, and by doing so, change the culture of their workforce for the better. And while this is a great conversation to have as we close out National Disability Employment Awareness Month, it’s the NOD’s hope that finding ways to help people of all abilities easily apply for a job becomes an ongoing discussion.

Are We Beginning to Narrow the Gap on Disability Inclusion in the Workplace?

By Carol Glazor, President of NOD


After decades of seeing no real change, something finally may be shifting, and more people with disabilities are finding jobs.

NOD’s 2021 Employment Tracker shows that the percentage of new hires with disabilities among major employers is increasing. While the numbers are still too low, it is more progress than we have seen in a generation.

I believe the reason is a convergence of a few things. The constant drumbeat about the need for disability inclusiveness in the workforce from organizations such as ours. People with disabilities also have been caught in the more recent rising tide of awareness about discrimination and inequity, along with other marginalized groups.

Even though people with disabilities are disproportionately represented in low-wage, high-contact jobs that can’t be done remotely, others of us who for years asked for remote work as an accommodation, won that right during the pandemic.

And there’s always the economy. While job openings reached historically high levels in the spring, businesses are scrambling to find workers. Increasingly, they’re turning to previously-untapped labor sources.

We still have a long way to go, especially as nearly 1 million people with disabilities lost their jobs during the beginning months of COVID. But the numbers are ticking upward. The labor force participation rate for working-age people with disabilities increased from 32.7 percent in September 2020 to 36.4 percent in September 2021, up 11.3 percent or 3.7 percentage points. For people without disabilities, the labor force participation rate also increased, but at a much lower rate — only 0.8 percentage points, from 75.7 percent in 2020 to 76.5 percent in September 2021.

In other good signs, NOD’s Leadership Council made up of companies seeking to better their disability workforce numbers, added eleven new members in 2021, the largest increase we’ve seen since the Council was created. The number of companies filling out our Employment Tracker survey that gauges performance in disability workforce inclusion increased by 20%, to a new high of 228 companies.

And we could see even bigger gains. The Biden administration is focused on increasing funding for “Home and Community-Based Services,” which will allow more people with disabilities to get and hold jobs, and is asking Congress to provide grants to states to phase out subminimum wages for people with disabilities.

This is all positive, and as we close out National Disability Employment Awareness Month, I am happy to have more to say this year than the usual list of apprehensions and negative statistics about job numbers. This is no time to celebrate, however. More companies need to include everyone when they have job openings, and Congress needs to act on behalf of people with disabilities.

Are You Ready To Challenge Your Accessibility Assumptions?

By Tamar Savir | Medium, October 25th, 2021

We kicked off the #NoMouseVMware challenge this week, inviting employees to navigate a website or a tool for 30 minutes using only the keyboard.

A woman standing next to a computer. A cat is walking past the computer with a computer mouse in its mouth.

Not everyone relies on a mouse or a trackpad when using their computers. The general “cat” population may be surprised to know there are many keyboard-only users among us. For example, people who are blind or have low vision use assistive technology such as screen readers or braille displays and rely on keyboard functionality to navigate a page or browse content online. Other examples include people with dexterity difficulties. Approximately 7% of working adults have Parkinson’s, arthritis, or carpal tunnel syndrome. They find it easier to use the keyboard. Whatever the reason is — necessity or preference — there are many keyboard-only users navigating a world that was not designed for them.


Making the digital world more inclusive is something we can all contribute to.


An important first step is to experience the digital world the same way that keyboard-only users’ do. We’ve invited VMware employees to take the #NoMouseVMware challenge. You can join us too! Choose a website, or an app or tool, and navigate it using only a keyboard for 30 minutes. So, without a mouse (or a trackpad!) try to:

  • Navigate a menu bar
  • Write an email
  • Check out a newsfeed
  • Scroll down a timeline
  • Watch a video
  • Read an article
  • Subscribe to, or purchase, an item
  • Download a document
  • Review your PowerPoint slides


Navigation 101

A cat sitting next to a computer with a "no mouse" sign on the screen


Before you start, here are a few tips on keyboard navigation:

  • Press Tab to move to the next link, form element or button.
  • Press Shift+Tab to move to the previous link, form element, or button.
  • Press Enter or space bar to activate the current link or button.
  • Use arrow keys, Escape, or other keys if it makes sense.


How long did it take before you hit a roadblock?

A cat dragging a computer mouse in its mouth


Or felt frustrated enough to throw your hands up in the air? Ten minutes? Five? Post a comment if you experienced at least one of the options listed below:

  • You couldn’t locate or lost where you were on the page because there wasn’t any visual indication.
  • You had to tab excessively to get to the main page content because there was no skip link.
  • You opened a modal window and noticed keyboard focus didn’t move to it.
  • You skipped over entire parts of the page that you knew you should be able to interact with.
  • You noticed focus jumped to active elements on the page in a random and illogical order.

Surely you can add a few more bullets to the list!

If a 30-minute challenge felt so painful, annoying and/ or frustrating, imagine how difficult it must be for someone who experiences it every day. We encourage you to think about your customers, potential hires and, of course, employees who are:

  • Using keyboards only to navigate your products and website.
  • Sitting through a training or sales pitch, and using the keyboard to navigate your PowerPoint presentations, email or other content.

Making the digital space accessible is everyone’s responsibility. Whether you are part of Marketing, Products, Sales, HR or any other function — we all have a role to play. Let’s become better accessibility advocates. Commit to use the keyboard more often, and if something isn’t working, raise a ticket or get it fixed.

With your help, we can build a future that is accessible for all.


Devoted Community Activist and Actor Robert David Hall Receives Lifetime Achievement Award From NOD at Annual Forum

Robert David Hall headshot

NEW YORK (OCTOBER 1, 2021) – Robert David Hall, who starred as ‘Dr. Al Robbins’ on CBS TV’s “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” and one of the most prominent actors with a disability working today, is the recipient of the National Organization on Disability’s (NOD) 2021 Lifetime Achievement Award. Hall, who lost both of his legs in 1978 when an 18-wheel truck struck his car, is receiving the award in recognition of his exceptional contributions as a leader and advocate for people with disabilities. Hall also is the longest serving member on NOD’s board of directors. He was presented with the award at NOD’s online Annual Forum, “Disability Inclusion in the Next Normal” on September 30, 2021.

“It is our honor to present David with this Lifetime Achievement Award,” said NOD President Carol Glazer. “David does so much behind the scenes to advocate for disability rights, not only professionally, but in his private life as well. He has paved the way for actors with disabilities and has been an incredible role model for so many. His work is leaving a legacy. I am proud to call him my colleague and friend.”

Hall’s other achievements include serving as a past member of the national board of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), and was also the national chairman of the Performers with Disabilities Caucus for SAG, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists and the London-based trade union Equity. Along with his time on NOD’s board, he has served on the Mark Taper Forum’s Other Voices Project, which promotes empowerment of writers and performers with disabilities in the American theater. In 2010, he had the privilege of introducing President Barack Obama at the 20th Anniversary celebration for the Americans with Disabilities Act on the White House lawn.

I’m honored and grateful to receive the NOD Lifetime Achievement Award,” said Hall.

“I dedicate this award to my late Mother and Father; Dad was tough, Mom was encouraging, and all my siblings knew they were loved. Along with many others, I have dedicated many years to advocating for people with disabilities, and I stand proudly by NOD’s mission to recognize everyone’s abilities and talents, especially in the workforce. I encourage all companies (especially those in the media and entertainment fields) to see people with disabilities as they are —productive, resilient, and hard working. People with disabilities can do anything if they are given the opportunity. I like to think that I’m a small part of that big picture. Thanks especially to my wife, Judy, who loves me fiercely and overlooks most of my imperfections.”


About the NOD Annual Forum

Diversity and inclusion leaders from global companies attended the National Organization on Disability’s Annual Forum on September 30. Academy Award winner Marlee Matlin kicked off the two-hour virtual showcase entitled, “Leadership Council Forum: Disability Inclusion in the Next Normal” with an inspiring keynote address.  Emceed by actress Santina Muha, the Forum addressed the challenges that business leaders continue to face in a shifting economy and post-COVID era as they prepare to bring employees back to the office or continue providing a remote work environment. It also unpacked the opportunities the global pandemic has afforded employees with disabilities as it relates to digital accessibility, mental health programs and better workplace flexibility. For more information about Robert David Hall and other 2021 award winners, visit


About National Organization on Disability (NOD)

The National Organization on Disability (NOD) is a private, non-profit organization that seeks to increase employment opportunities for the 80 percent of working-age Americans with disabilities who are not employed. To achieve this goal, NOD offers a suite of employment solutions, tailored to meet leading companies’ workforce needs. NOD has helped some of the world’s most recognized brands become more competitive in today’s global economy by building or enriching their disability inclusion programs. For more information about NOD and how its professional services, Leadership Council and Employment Tracker™ can help your business, visit

Find Leading Disability Employers

These employers are dedicated to disability inclusion and recognize the benefits of hiring workers with disabilities.

Find Leading Disability EmployersThese employers are dedicated to inclusivity.

While October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month, unemployment for adults with disabilities is an epidemic in the workforce that’s seen all year, every year. In fact, according to Monster’s Future of Work survey, only 7 percent of employers include disability recruitment as part of their DEI strategy.

Yet the shift to remote work in response to the pandemic has allowed many people with disabilities (PWD) to find work and opened up new opportunities. However, many PWD are still reluctant to disclose a disability to an employer.

Fortunately, some best-in-class employers are already creating inclusive workplaces and removing barriers for PWD to find jobs. Every year, the National Organization on Disability (NOD) recognizes these top companies for not only leading the way in inclusion, but also for tapping into the many benefits that come with hiring talent with disabilities, which include high rates of productivity, strong dedication, and greater engagement at work.

Listed below in alphabetical order, are over 50 top companies across bankingconsultingfinancial serviceshealthcare, and  IT. See which of the following would be a good fit for you.

Top disability employers of 2021

  • AbbVie
  • Accenture
  • American Heart Association
  • Anthem
  • AT&T
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan
  • Blue Shield of California
  • Capital One
  • Centene
  • Cerner Corporation
  • Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
  • Comcast NBCUniversal
  • Dow
  • Eli Lilly and Company
  • EY
  • Financial Industry Regulatory Authority
  • GDIT
  • Hilton Worldwide
  • Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey
  • HSBC
  • Humana
  • Huntington Bank
  • Idaho National Laboratory
  • Independence Care System
  • Kaiser Permanente
  • KeyBank
  • KPMG U.S.
  • L’Oréal USA
  • Leidos
  • Level Access
  • Lockheed Martin
  • M&T Bank
  • Marriott International
  • Martinsburg Veterans Affairs Medical Center
  • Mayo Clinic
  • National Grid USA
  • National Security Agency
  • Nautilus Hyosung America
  • New Editions Consulting
  • New York Life
  • Northrop Grumman
  • PRIDE Industries
  • Prudential Financial
  • PSEG
  • Puerto Rico Industries for the Blind
  • PwC
  • Randstad US
  • Reed Smith
  • RespectAbility
  • SEI
  • Skookum Contract Services
  • Sodexo
  • Sony Corporation of America
  • T-Mobile, USA
  • TD
  • The Boeing Company
  • The Hershey Company
  • The Viscardi Center
  • TIAA
  • U.S. Bank
  • United Airlines
  • Unum Group
  • W.W. Grainger, Inc.
  • WeCo Accessibility Services
  • Wells Fargo & Company