When it comes to the facts in regards to Australia’s unemployment rates, they’re not pretty, particularly for younger workers. At least one third of the country’s youth are unemployed. It’s a big statistic to digest, even more so when you consider the struggle facing those with a disability in what is already a difficult environment. Reality is, if you have a disability, your back is against the wall when it comes to job hunting.
Enter Fiona Anson and Alli Baker, founders of JobGetter, which recently launched an initiative aimed at helping those with disabilities to get an even footing with their job search. In addition to allowing employers to badge job postings as disability friendly, the site displays office facilities available to candidates such as wheelchair access or sight prompts.
For those of us without a disability, we may not even think twice about these facilities but these are the kind of complications people living with a disability face each day.
“The initiative came up as part of a project we were working on with University of Technology Sydney and their Bachelor of Technology and Innovation students. In three short weeks, they came up with this, did a whole lot of research with relevant job seekers and had a design. They presented it to us in October… and we then slated it into our production schedule in January for a March release,” says Anson.
She adds that there are way too many job platforms out there for niches, with job seekers forced to go from site-to-site to find work. When you’re part of a minority group, the task is made harder as ‘mainstream’ job platforms are unlikely to cater for your unique needs.
“We want to change this dynamic. Why should you be excluded because you’ve got a special need? Our team is passionate about inclusion for everyone, not just those in the mainstream.”
Since its inception, JobGetter has retained a focus on inclusion that extends to their community-based job platforms currently being rolled out in numerous shopping centre groups in regional centres, where the demand for inclusivity and equality are both high on the agenda.
It’s almost impossible for us to speak with two female founders creating a positive splash within the tech space, without asking about their experience as women in tech.
“At the end of the day, we don’t think much about being women in tech and I certainly don’t use it as an excuse or barrier,” Anson admits.
“We’re people in tech who just happen to be women. Being a woman has never stopped or prohibited me from doing or being anything. You just have to disregard it and smash your way through any glass walls or ceilings you find.”
As for funding, Anson says she and Baker have been fortunate to find investors who see their vision.
“Running a business is not easy – I’ve had seven over a 25-year career. A tech start-up is twice as hard because it’s very expensive to build technology so you typically can’t do it without funding. The biggest challenges are to stay motivated and on-track.”
Baker also passed on her top tips for women wanting to get into the tech industry:
- Think long and hard about it: it takes a lot of blood, sweat and tears.
- Know who you are: you need to be single minded, super passionate and as tenacious as Hell.
- Take advantage of the myriad of support groups on-hand to help you on your journey.
Sound like you? If you’re a woman interested in the tech space, what support are you looking for in order to progress your career? Tell us in the comments below.