There are 12 million disabled people in the UK but according to the latest government statistics, just 47% of people with disabilities of working age were in employment between October and December 2015. Among non-disabled people, this figure stood at 80%.
The latest statistics from RIDI, collected at a recent debate at the House of Commons which was attended by senior figures from UK businesses and the recruitment profession, suggests that this may be attributed to a continuing lack of awareness around disability in the workplace.
Data from online portal, CV-Library, shows that each job vacancy, on average, receives 17.4 applications. Official figures show that 19% of people in the UK have a disability. Subsequently, three in every 17 applications should statistically come from disabled candidates.
However, just 19% of those surveyed said that they ‘often’ received applications from disabled candidates and 29% said that they ‘sometimes’ received applications from disabled candidates. 4% said that they ‘never’ received applications from disabled candidates. These figures are indicative of candidates failing to disclose disabilities at application stage.
Attendees were also asked if they were requested to provide – or themselves sought – details of ‘disability confidence’ when partnering with other organisations for the purpose of recruitment. Just 5% said this was always the case and 23% didn’t know.
On a more positive note, when attendees were asked if they proactivity and confidently provide reasonable adjustments to disabled candidates, a show of hands indicated that the vast majority – around four fifths – did so at not only application and interview stages, but also when making an offer and after the candidate had begun work.
Commenting on the findings, Kate Headley, director of The Clear Company, who moderated the debate, said:
“While it is fantastic that employers and recruiters are becoming increasingly confident in providing reasonable adjustments for disabled professionals, figures collected on the day suggest that there is still work to be done. It seems there remains clear issues around disability disclosure specifically, with just one in five audience members believing that they regularly receive applications from disabled jobseekers.”
Following the debate, the audience was asked who should be responsible for driving change in this area. The vast majority (88%) said that the recruitment industry and employers must work together to half the disabled employment gap.
“While it may seem like an unachievable task to hit the Government’s target of halving the disabled employment gap by assisting 1.2 million disabled people into work, it is possible if we work collaboratively. Employers must have the confidence to insist on diverse shortlists, while recruiters should use their powers of persuasion to sell the best candidate for the job – regardless if that candidate has a disability or not. Both the staffing sector and UK businesses should seek out third party support to become more confident on engaging with disabled candidates.”
“If every business committed to hiring just one disabled candidate this year- we’d reach the Government’s target in no time.”
Picture: Young woman on wheelchair analyzing charts with her boss. Courtesy of ©Depositphotos.com/photograph