While a growing number of employers have made progress in recognising the benefits of creating a more diverse workforce, disabled people continue to face considerable challenges when it comes to securing and remaining in employment. Despite the fact that UK government research has identified that disabled people make up 19 per cent of the population, polling from the Centre of Social Justice has highlighted there is much room for improvement. Almost two thirds (63 per cent) of HR decision makers perceive disability as a barrier to hiring, and only a third (33 per cent) have hired a person with a disability in the last year.
ManpowerGroup has a long and proud history of ‘doing well by doing good’. We are committed to providing opportunities for individuals from vulnerable groups. This goes beyond mere words on a dusty strategy paper: it is our purpose and runs throughout our DNA.
A committed member of the Two Ticks scheme for a number of years, ManpowerGroup’s transition to becoming Disability Confident was seamless. It has reinforced the various commitments we have made to support those with disabilities to fulfil their potential in the workplace. It also brought to life the many programmes and initiatives we run. For example, ManpowerGroup partners with Blind Cricket England and Wales to organise an annual visually impaired cricket match. This year, the UK Women’s visually impaired cricket team played a team of ManpowerGroup representatives and their clients who wore blindfolds and glasses designed to restrict their vision. The match was used as a platform to challenge the perceptions that exist, initiate conversations about disability and employment in a fun way, and raise awareness of the abilities of disabled people as valuable employees. It proved the perceptions themselves that can create the biggest barrier to hiring disabled people.
There is, of course, so much more to be done. We are on a journey that has only just begun. We recognise that we are far from perfect – however, there is genuine desire to affect change as we believe that meaningful and sustainable employment has the power the change the world.
As we approach the anniversary of the launch of Disability Confident at the REC, we are proud to be representing the recruitment industry on the Disability Confident’s Business Leaders Group alongside companies like Sainsbury’s and John Lewis. We’re keen to do more and invite recruiters across the industry to join us on this journey by becoming Disability Confident. If you are at the start of the journey, then Disability Confident will give you the tools and support to get started as Tom Hadley outlines in his previous blog. If every recruitment business does their part, then our industry has the potential to transform the jobs market.