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Applying a behavioural approach to address stereotypes that limit access to employment for people with disabilities

  • Report
  • 5th Mar 2024

This project was conducted in 2019 as part of our framework agreement with the Direction Interministérielle de la Transformation Publique (DITP). We assisted the DITP behavioural sciences department following a sollicitation from Pôle Emploi.

In France, despite the 2005 law requiring all companies with more than 20 employees to integrate 6% of workers with disabilities into their workforce, accessing employment remains a challenge for disabled jobseekers. We collaborated with the Direction Interministérielle de la Transformation Publique (DITP) and Pôle Emploi to apply a behavioural approach to combat stereotypes limiting access to employment.

To identify the obstacles faced by job seekers with disabilities, and the opportunities for potential interventions, we conducted:

  • interviews with Pôle Emploi staff, with employers from various sectors, with a recruitment agency, and with job seekers, and
  • field observations of meetings between placement advisors and job seekers

This work allowed us to map out the main barriers faced by stakeholders:

On the employers’ side:

  1. Lack of knowledge about disability and funding available
  2. Difficulty in finding and “attracting” people with disabilities
  3. Persistence of certain stereotypes about individuals with disabilities

On the job seekers’ side:

  1. Lack of knowledge about available training, adaptations and financial subsidies
  2. Lack of clarity on how to disclose their disability
  3. Lack of self-confidence

On the advisors’ side:

  1. Lack of knowledge about disability and funding
  2. Lack of objectives: advisors are not directly encouraged by specific goals to assist job seekers with disabilities to returning to work

We developed a long list of interventions, of which one was selected for a trial: offering employers the possibility to add a “disability-friendly” mention to job offers, to reassure and encourage applications from people with disabilities.

To evaluate the potential impact of this intervention, we conducted a randomised controlled trial over 5 months and in 44 departments of France, involving a total of 111,534 employers. This evaluation allowed us to quantify the effect of such an addition – and the results are very promising: job offers displaying the “disability-friendly” mention received twice as many applications from people with disabilities.

Authors