I was shocked this week when my copy of People Management arrived and I saw an article within it talking about how badly companies are flouting the law when it comes to disability and recruitment. In it there was a case study example of a lady who had applied for roles giving details of the fact that she was in a wheelchair and never being invited to an interview, compared to when she sent her CV out with no such mention of a wheelchair and she was invited to 7 interviews. As the article points out, employers are obliged to make reasonable adjustments and there is simply no excuse for failing to do so in the recruitment process.
One of the shocking statistics for me was the fact that only 5% of companies
were clear and up-front about their willingness to make adjustments as part
of the recruitment process – do you shout that out loud for potential
On the same day as that article caught my attention I was also notified that
there has been the first reading in the Commons of a Bill in relation to
listed companies, public bodies and voluntary agencies having to report
annually on the number and percentage of people they employ who have
disabilities. While often these Bills don’t actually make it to the statute
book, it shows there is obviously a feeling that organisations are not doing
enough to make themselves accessible.
I understand that that is often down to fear. I remember a friend who was
struggling to find employment because of her disability, feeling that it was
the ‘elephant in the room’ that nobody could discuss. I challenged her to
actually address this in her next job interview, giving her the opportunity
to talk about her needs and emphasise to the new employer that actually they
were really minimal. Lo and behold, she got the next job. I think all too
often managers believe that they are not able to ask any questions. That is
not the case. If the question is put in a way that is about the
organisation understanding what needs somebody has and how they might be
able to help accommodate them, then that should flush out all the
information that the manager would need to know.