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14th Dec, 2021

Christy Houghton
Christy Houghton
Job Title
Digital Content Writer

According to Scope more than 4.4 million disabled people are in work in the UK. Yet, employment rates among those who are disabled are still low, many businesses, even now, are reluctant to hire professionals with a disability – whether it’s visible or not.

Gemma Jordan, Senior HR Business Partner and D&I Lead at Reed, said: “Businesses need to move disability inclusion high up on their agenda. We have been protecting people in the UK on the grounds of disability for over 25 years, but more progress can be been made in the workplace.”

At Reed we are committed to making work, work for everyone and are passionate about ensuring those with disabilities are given the help and support they need to thrive while working with us. If you haven’t thought about hiring people with a disability within your organisation, then here are five reasons why you should:

Expand your talent pool19% of working age adults are disabled, according to Scope. This means that inviting disabled people into your workforce will give you a much wider talent pool of over 6.9 million people in the UK. Being more open-minded about a candidate with a disability will unlock the door to a plethora of talented professionals you may not have found otherwise.

Increase employee retention – employees with disabilities are more likely to look for job security and have greater longevity in their roles, partly because they have a more challenging time searching for jobs than others. Therefore, you will see a much lower turnover rate and a greater return on your investment for any training you provide them with.

Improve company culture – any hiring manager who overlooks candidates with disabilities is potentially missing out on someone who could be perfect for their team. To avoid this, inclusivity must be ingrained in a business’s culture through awareness and the elimination of bias and negative stereotypes.

Providing learning and development on the language which should and should not be used is one of the first steps to creating a better environment for disabled people to work in. Having flexibility and the agility to react to the needs of individuals will be crucial, as everyone in your workforce is different. Employers must create an open and honest environment where people feel they can express their needs and trust their leaders to fulfil them.

“The purple pound” – this refers to the collective spending power of households which include at least one disabled person. Research by Purple – an organisation that supports employers with disability inclusion – found that businesses lose approximately £2 billion a month by ignoring the needs of disabled people.

Businesses that welcome disabled employees into their workforce will have one that is more representative of the population. With this, companies will have a greater understanding of the needs of people with disabilities and will be able to improve their products and services to suit their disabled customer base.

Boost the productivity of your company – according to Evenbreak, on average, disabled people are just as productive as their non-disabled peers and have fewer accidents at work. Many disabled people also have specific additional skills; for example, some people on the autism spectrum are good at work which requires attention to detail or visual thinking.

There are many misconceptions about disabled people, including a higher absentee rate for disabled people than those without disabilities. However, in a study by us and Disability Rights UK, 90% of employers said they didn’t think employees with disabilities were any more likely to have time off work than their colleagues.

Disability is a protected characteristic, meaning employers are legally bound to provide any additional equipment and make any reasonable adjustments their employees need to do their jobs. These adjustments don’t have to cost anything – there are many ways to improve the lives of your disabled workforce.

Gemma concludes: “Overall, it’s about being considerate of every person who works for you. Whatever you can do to make them feel like they belong in your workforce is worth doing – not just for them but also for your company. Creating a workplace where everyone can be their true selves and feel safe, will not only give you competitive advantage, but it’s the right, human thing to do.”

If you’re looking for a talented candidate or your next opportunity, contact your nearest Reed office.