People with disabilities can, of course, be your most productive workers. But just one word or phrase could make them feel excluded. This bias against people with disabilities is also called ableism.

One type/example of ableism in job descriptions is the words we use to describe physical demands. If a candidate has a physical disability, they might feel excluded by your use of certain everyday words such as “speak” or “carry”.  Below are the top 10 physical demands that come up in job descriptions along with language I recommend to be inclusive of people with physical disabilities.

For more tips on writing job descriptions, check out How to Write a Job Description — Best Practices & Examples.

10 Better Phrases to Use in Job Descriptions to be More Inclusive to People with Physical Disabilities

Physical Demand
(Avoid these)
More Inclusive Words to UseExamples of Job Description Text (with Inclusive Words)
ClimbAscend, Raise, Works atopPeriodically ascends a ladder to work atop roofs of customers
Touch or FeelActivate, Inspect, DiagnoseYou regularly inspect the thickness of clothing material
Hand, Carry, Lift, Reach or ThrowMove, Install, Operate, Manage, Puts, Places, Transfer, TransportMust transport boxes of refrigerators from shipping dock to truck
Read, See or SightAssess, Comprehend, Discover, Distinguish, Detect, Evaluate, Find, Identify, Interpret, Observe, Recognize, UnderstandYou will observe any cars illegally parked in the loading zone
Speak, Talk or HearCommunicate, Converse, Discuss, Exchange information, Express, SignalThe person in this position discusses budgets with the CFO on a monthly basis
Stand or SitStationary PositionMust be able to remain in stationary position 50% of the time.
Bend Crouch, Kneel or CrowdLower oneself, Drop, Move to, TurnYou occasionally need to install new ethernet cables under floor rugs
Taste or SmellDetect, Distinguish, Determine, TryYou will uncork wine and determine if it is spoiled before pouring for customers
TypeInput, Enter, Record, WriteThis position inputs data into a spreadsheet for the manager to review
Walk or RunMove to, Move about, TraverseThe person moves about the office regularly to meet with I.T., Finance and Engineering.

There were 2 very helpful resources I used for this article:

Why I wrote this?

I wrote this because my team and I at Ongig are on a mission to get you the most attractive and effective job descriptions. Our Job Description Content Marketing Cloud detects and helps fix any words that are biased or exclusionary. Check out the Ongig Text Analyzer and ping me if you’d like a demo.

by in Writing Job Descriptions