Academic Literature

Employers’ and Employment Counselors’ Perceptions of Desirable Skills for Entry-Level Positions for Adolescents with a Disability

2014
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Employers’ and Employment Counselors’ Perceptions of Desirable Skills for Entry-Level Positions for Adolescents with a Disability

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Today’s youth face high unemployment and other labor-market challenges; these challenges are often worse for youth with disabilities. This paper explores what employers and employment counselors look for when hiring youth into entry-level jobs and whether they believe youth with disabilities have fewer skills than those without. This study used a qualitative design with a purposive sample of 19 youth employers and employment counselors. Our findings show that youth employers and employment counselors identify the following traits as enhancing young workers’ employability: a well-prepared job applicant; job fit and a good attitude; and soft skills. We find youth with disabilities are perceived to be at a disadvantage. Consistent with a rising body of research, the emphasis on soft skills, and pliability, opens the door for employment discrimination.

Lindsay, S., Adams, T., Sanford, R., McDougall, C., Kingsnorth, S., & Menna-Dack, D. (2014). Employers’ and employment counselors’ perceptions of desirable skills for entry-level positions for adolescents: how does it differ for youth with disabilities?. Disability & Society, 29(6), 953-967.

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